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THE    FIRST    FORTY  YEARS    OF 
WASHINGTON    SOCIETY 


Mrs.    Samuel   Harrison   Smith    (Margaret   Bayard). 

After  the  portrait  by  Charles  Bird  King,  in  the  possession  of  her  grandson, 
J.  Henley  Smith,  Washington. 


COPYRIGHT,   1906,  BY 

CHARLES  SCRIBNER'S  SONS 


Published    November,    1906. 


PREFATORY    NOTE 

During  the  first  forty  years  of  its  existence  the  city 
of  Washington  had  a  society,  more  definite  and  real  than 
it  has  come  to  have  in  later  days.  The  permanent  resi- 
dents, although  appurtenant  to  the  changing  official  ele- 
ment, nevertheless  furnished  the  framework  which  the 
larger  and  more  important  social  life  used  to  build  upon, 
and  the  result  was  a  structure  of  society  tolerably  com- 
pact and  pleasing  and  certainly  interesting.  It  was 
emphatically  official,  but  it  did  not  include  the  lower  class 
officials,  who  found  their  recreation  for  the  most  part  at 
the  street  resorts,  and  its  tone  was  dignified  and  whole- 
some. At  any  rate,  it  was  genuine  and  national,  even 
if  it  was  crude,  and  the  day  of  the  all-powerful  rich  man 
and  his  dominance  in  social  life  had  not  yet  arrived. 

Samuel  Harrison  Smith,  a  writer  and  editor  in  Phila- 
delphia, came  to  the  city  in  the  year  1800,  soon  after  the 
government  had  moved  there.  He  was  the  son  of  Jona- 
than Bayard  Smith,  a  member  of  the  Continental  Con- 
gress, signer  of  the  Articles  of  Confederation  and  Colonel 
of  a  Pennsylvania  regiment  during  the  Revolution;  and 
although  he  was  only  28  years  old  he  established  the  first 
national  newspaper  printed  in  America,  which  he  called 
The  National  Intelligencer.  Just  before  his  paper  was 
started  he  returned  to  Philadelphia,  and  on  September  29, 
1800,  married  his  second  cousin,  Margaret  Bayard,  and 
their  wedding  journey  was  from  Philadelphia  to  Wash- 
ington where  they  lived  the  rest  of  their  lives;  and  for 


vi  PREFATORY    NOTE 

forty  years  their  house  was  the  resort  of  the  most  interest- 
ing characters  in  national  public  life.  The  first  number  of 
The  National  Intelligencer  appeared  October  31,  1800, 
and  after  conducting  it  successfully  for  a  number  of  years 
Mr.  Smith  sold  it  to  Joseph  Gales,  Jr.,  who  afterwards 
associated  with  himself  as  editor,  William  W.  Seaton.  In 
1813  President  Madison  appointed  Mr.  Smith  the  first 
Commissioner  of  the  Revenue  of  the  Treasury  Depart- 
ment and  on  September  30,  18 14,  Secretary  of  the  Treas- 
ury ad  interim.  From  1809  to  18 19  he  was  President  of 
the  Bank  of  Washington  and  later  President  of  the  Wash- 
ington branch  Bank  of  the  United  States  until  the  office 
was  abolished  ten  years  before  his  death.  Undoubtedly, 
the  success  of  his  career  was  partly  due  to  the  assistance 
given  him  by  his  talented  wife. 

Margaret  Bayard  was  born,  February  29,  1778,  in 
Philadelphia,  the  daughter  of  Colonel  John  Bayard,  a 
famous  revolutionary  officer,  Speaker  of  the  Pennsyl- 
vania Assembly  and  member  of  the  Continental  Congress. 
Colonel  Bayard's  nephew  and  adopted  son  was  James  A. 
Bayard,  a  distinguished  diplomat  and  Senator  from  Dela- 
ware, and  James  A.  Bayard's  son,  having  the  same 
name,  was  also  a  Senator  from  Delaware,  as  was  his 
grandson,  the  late  Thomas  Francis  Bayard.  Margaret 
Bayard  was  22  years  old  when  she  married,  and  it  was 
inevitable  that  one  who  wrote  so  readily  should  eventu- 
ally print  her  pieces,  and  in  due  course  she  fell  in  with 
Godey,  Mrs.  Sarah  Josepha  Hale,  Anthony  Bleecker, 
J.  Herrick  and  Miss  Catherine  Maria  Sedgwick,  and 
from  1823  up  to  a  few  years  before  her  death  she 
was  an  occasional  contributor  to  the  literature  of  the 
day.  For  Godey's  Lady's  Book  she  wrote  "Domestic 
Sketches,"  an  account  of  Presidential  Inaugurations  and 
a  serial  moral  story  printed  in  March,  April  and  May, 


PREFATORY    NOTE  vii 

1837,  entitled  "Who  Is  Happy?"  She  also  wrote  some 
Spanish  tales,  "Constantine"  and  several  other  Roman 
stones,  "Lucy,"  "The  Sister,"  and  "Estelle  Aubert,"  a 
translation  from  the  French  which  Mrs.  Hale  printed  in 
1834.  In  1835  she  printed  in  The  National  Intelli- 
gencer a  letter  in  verse  anonymously  to  Harriet  Mar- 
tineau,  and  probably  contributed  to  this  paper  on  other 
occasions  which  cannot  be  identified.  In  1837  she  wrote 
for  The  Southern  Literary  Messenger  and  Peter  Parley 
(Goodrich's)  Annual  "The  Token,"  but  anonymously. 
She  contributed  to  Herrick  &  Longacre's  "National  Por- 
trait Gallery,"  doubtless  the  articles  on  Mrs.  Madison  and 
probably  one  or  two  others.  Her  contributions  were  gen- 
erally moral  essays  or  stories,  pitched  high  as  the  taste  of 
the  day  required.  The  most  ambitious  product  of  her  pen 
was  a  large  novel  in  two  volumes  entitled  "A  Winter  in 
Washington,  or  Memoirs  of  the  Seymour  Family,"  pub- 
lished in  1824  (New  York:  E.  Bliss  and  E.  White) 
anonymously.  Her  authorship  was,  however,  not  con- 
cealed and  was  generally  known  at  the  time,  and  the  book 
after  being  a  decided  success  has  since  become  exceedingly 
rare.  The  characters  were  taken  from  real  life,  and  it 
has  historical  value  because  of  a  number  of  anecdotes, 
chiefly  of  Thomas  Jefferson,  scattered  through  its  pages. 
Another  volume  published  by  her  was  a  story  of  257 
pages,  printed  in  1828  and  sold  at  a  fair  held  for  the 
benefit  of  the  Washington  Orphan  Asylum,  bearing  the 
title  "What  Is  Gentility?"  (Published  by  Pishey  Thomp- 
son. DeKraf t,  Printer. )  Undoubtedly  Mrs.  Smith's  most 
interesting  and  valuable  writings  were  those  which  she 
never  intended  for  publication  and  which  have  hitherto 
never  seen  the  light,  being  her  private  letters,  in  which  she 
opens  an  intimate  view  of  the  famous  political  characters 
in  Washington,  whose  acquaintance  and  friendship  she 


viii  PREFATORY    NOTE 

enjoyed.  Those  letters  present  a  picture  highly  enter- 
taining and  valuable,  and  so  do  some  of  the  reminiscences 
which  she  wrote  in  her  note-books. 

She  was  the  intimate  friend  of  Jefferson — who  was 
her  life's  hero — and  his  family,  and  one  of  his  most  char- 
acteristic letters,  that  in  which  he  discloses  his  views 
on  religion,  was  addressed  to  her;  of  the  Madisons,  the 
Clays,  the  Calhouns ;  of  William  Wirt,  the  accomplished 
Attorney-General  for  twelve  years,  and  of  William  H. 
Crawford,  whose  partisan  in  his  candidacy  for  the  Pres- 
idency she  became,  besides  many  others.  She  enter- 
tained Harriet  Martineau  when  she  came  to  Washing- 
ton on  her  famous  tour,  held  long  conversations  with  the 
Socialist,  Owen  of  Lanark,  and  had  as  one  of  her  intimate 
friends  Madame  de  Neuville,  the  wife  of  Hyde  de  Neu- 
ville,  the  most  popular  of  the  early  ministers  of  France 
to  the  United  States.  She  was  a  remarkably  truthful 
letter  writer,  and  never  embellished  her  correspondence 
with  apocryphal  gossip.  She  judged  her  fellow-man 
charitably  and  believed  in  her  country  absolutely,  and  did 
not  herself  participate  in  any  of  the  party  rancor  which 
raged  around  her.  She  was  a  Republican,  to  which  party 
her  husband  adhered,  but  she  came  of  a  Federalist  family 
and  looked  not  unkindly  upon  her  husband's  opponents. 
She  died  January  7,  1844,  and  her  husband  November  1, 
1845. 


In  the  valuable  manuscript  collection  in  my  pos- 
session are  several  thousand  of  my  grandmother's  letters 
and  of  letters  to  her  from  nearly  all  the  prominent  char- 
acters of  her  day.  They  were  kept  by  her  son,  Jonathan 
Bayard  Harrison  Smith,  my  father,  under  lock  and 
key  during  his  life,  and  have  only  been  seen  since  coming 


PREFATORY    NOTE  ix 

under  my  control  after  my  mother's  death.  From  this 
mass  of  material  Mr.  Hunt  has  selected  only  those  letters 
which  give  an  intimate  view  of  the  social  life  of  Wash- 
ington nearly  a  hundred  years  ago.  Most  of  the  letters 
are  addressed  to  Mrs.  Smith's  sisters,  Jane,  herself  a. 
woman  of  literary  accomplishments,  the  wife  of  Chief 
Justice  Andrew  Kirkpatrick  of  New  Jersey,  and  Anna, 
who  married  Mr.  Samuel  Boyd  of  New  York;  and  her 
husband's  sisters,  Susan  Bayard  Smith  and  Mary  Ann 
Smith ;  and  her  son,  when  he  was  a  student  at  Princeton. 
Sidney,  the  country  place  from  which  she  often  wrote, 
was  a  farm  of  200  acres,  a  portion  of  which  the  Catholic 
University  now  occupies;  but  the  original  house  is  still 
standing. 

J.  Henley  Smith. 


ILLUSTRATIONS 


Mrs.  Samuel  Harrison  Smith  (Margaret  Bayard), 

After  the  portrait  by  Charles  Bird  King,  in  the  possession  of  her  grand- 
son, J.  Henley  Smith,  Washington. 

Frontispiece 

FACING 
PAGE 

Colonel  John  Bayard,  Father  of  Margaret  Bayard  .        6 

A  famous  Revolutionary  officer,  Speaker  of  the  Pennsylvania  Assembly, 
and  Member  of  the  Continental  Congress. 

Aaron  Burr 20 

From  a  portrait  by  John    Vanderlyn,   in   the  possession  of  Pierrepont 
Edwards,  Elizabeth,  N.  J. 

James  A.  Bayard,  Senator  from  Delaware  ...      24 

From  an  engraving  of  the  original  painting  by  Wertmuller. 

Thomas  Jefferson,  by  Gilbert  Stuart  .        ...      30 

The  property  of  T.  Jefferson  Coolidge. 

Samuel    Harrison    Smith,  Founder   of    The  National 

Intelligencer        .........       40 

After  the  portrait  by  Charles  Bird  King. 

Mr.  Jefferson,  Mrs.  Madison,  Mr.  Madison  ...      60 

Silhouettes  from  life. 

Monticello — North  Front 66 

Monticello— South  Front 68 

Monticello — Entrance  Hall    .......      72 

Monticello— Salon ' .        .        .76 

Montpelier 82 

Madison's  home,  near  Richmond,  Virginia. 
xi 


xii  ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING 
PAGE 

View  of  the  East  Front  of  the  President's  House, 
with  the  Addition  of  the  North  and  South 
Porticos 94 

From  a  drawing  made  in  1807  by  B.  H.  Latrobe,  surveyor  of  the  public 
buildings,  Washington. 

The  President's  House,  Washington,  after  the  Con- 
flagration of  August  24,  1814 102 

The  Capitol  after  the   Conflagration   of   Augvst 

24,  1814 no 

Mrs.  James  Madison 134 

From  the  steel  engraving  by  J.  F.  E.  Prudhomme,  after  the  portrait  by 
J.  Wood. 

Andrew  Jackson    .        .        .        .    ' 174 

From  the  painting  by  Sully  (1823),  in  the  Corcoran  Gallery,  Washington. 

Henry  Clay,  Secretary  of  State  1825-1829  .        .        .     208 

From  the  portrait  by  Edward  Dalton  Marchant,  in  the  State  Depart- 
ment, Washington. 

James  Madison 234 

From  a  picture  by  Gilbert  Stuart,  in  the  possession  of  T.  Jefferson  Coolidge. 

John  Quincy  Adams .        .248 

From  the  portrait  by  Jean  Baptiste  Adolphe  Gibert,  in  the  State  Depart- 
ment, Washington. 

Mrs.  William  Thornton 322 

After  a   water-color  by  Dr.    Thornton,  in   the  possession  of  J.  Henley 
Smith,  Washington. 

Dr.  William  Thornton 326 

After  a   water-color  by   himself   in  the  possession  of  J.  Henley  Smith, 
Washington. 

Harriet  Martineau 356 

Mrs.  James  Madison 380 

After  a  water-color  by  Dr.  William  Thornton. 

BETWEEN 
_  PAGES 

Fac-simile  of  Letter  from  Miss  Martineau  to 

Mrs.  Smith 368  and  369 


THE    FIRST    FORTY  YEARS    OF 
WASHINGTON    SOCIETY 


FORTY  YEARS  OF 
WASHINGTON  SOCIETY 

TO   MRS.   KIRKPATR1CK 

Sunday  evening,  Nov.  16,  1800. 
.  .  .  .  I  thought  I  was  coming  into  a  land  of 
strangers;  but  with  a  husband  so  beloved,  I  hesitated 
not  to  leave  the  kindest  of  fathers  and  the  most  indulgent 
of  friends.  But,  here  in  Mrs.  Bell,  have  I  met  with  a 
mother,  for  sure  no  daughter  could  be  treated  with  more 
affection ;  in  Miss  Thornhill  and  Eliza,  sisters,  and  in  Mr. 
English  a  most  attentive  brother.  In  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Law, 
Cap.  and  Mrs.  Tingey,1  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Otis,  Dr.  and  Mrs. 
Thornton,2  social  and  agreeable  companions.  In  my  last 
letter  I  mentioned  that  Mrs.  Bell  was  to  drink  tea  with 
me;  the  family  all  came  and  in  my  chamber,  which  I 
assure  you  looked  very  smart,  we  passed  an  agreeable 
afternoon  and  they  were  treated  with  my  wedding  cake. 
Mrs.  B.  brought  with  her  a  large  basket  of  sweet  potatoes 

1  Thomas  Tingey,  born  in  London,  September  II,  1750,  an  officer  in 
the  British  Navy,  came  to  America  before  the  Revolution,  served  in  the 
Continental  Navy  during  the  war,  and  in  1799  in  the  war  with  France. 
He  was  not  in  the  Navy  at  the  time  Mrs.  Smith  met  him,  but  was  living 
in  Washington  as  a  private  citizen.  He  was  restored  to  the  Navy  in  1804 
and  was  continuously  in  command  of  the  Navy  Yard  until  his  death  in 
1829.  He  came  to  look  upon  the  Yard  as  his  property,  and  actually 
included  the  commandant's  house  in  the  property  which  he  disposed  of 
in  his  will.     His  first  wife  was  Sarah  Murdock,  of  Philadelphia. 

2  Dr.  William  Thornton  was  an  Englishman  born  in  the  West  Indies. 
He  made  the  first  accepted  designs  for  the  Capitol.  He  invented  a  flutter- 
wheel  steamboat  and  accused  Fulton  of  having  wrongfully  deprived  him 
of  it.  He  was  the  first  Superintendent  of  the  Patent  Office,  and  a  man  of 
genius  and  rare  social  accomplishments.  His  wife  was  a  Miss  Bor- 
deaux, who  had  come  to  America  from  France. 


2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

and  some  fine  cabbages.  Mr.  St.  Gemme,1  a  French 
gentleman  of  reduced  fortunes,  accompanied  her;  he 
teaches  Eliza  french  and  drawing,  and  from  a  piece  he 
painted,  certainly  possesses  much  taste  and  delicacy.  I 
found  him  so  agreeable  that  I  asked  him  to  repeat  his 
visit.  Tuesday  was  a  most  delightful  day,  and  Mr.  S. 
and  myself  sallied  forth.  Between  Capt.  Tingey  and  us, 
there  extends  a  plain  of  near  half  a  mile,  the  ground  is 
elevated  and  commands  a  most  beautiful  view  of  the 
Eastern  Branch.  I  will  not  say  we  walked  along  this, 
the  elasticity  of  the  air  had  given  such  elasticity  to  my 
spirits  that  I  could  not  walk.  On  reaching  the  house, 
we  were  received  in  a  very  friendly  way;  altho'  we  had 
so  long  neglected  returning  the  visits  of  this  family.  The 
Capt.  was  not  at  home;  we  sat  more  than  an  hour  with 
the  ladies ;  Mrs.  T.  is  a  good  kind  of  a  woman,  and  tho' 
not  very  agreeable,  yet  she  appears  very  worthy;  the 
girls  seem  good  natured,  but  as  yet  I  can  say  nothing 
more  of  them.  Mrs.  T.  gave  me  some  domestic  informa- 
tion, bade  me  apply  to  her  whenever  I  wanted  advice,  and 
to  consider  her  as  a  mother.  Said  she  was  averse  to 
form,  and  asked  me  to  visit  her  in  any  way  and  at  any 
hours.  If  I  would  ride,  she  would  often  call  for  me,  as 
they  always  had  a  spare  seat  in  the  carriage.  From 
there  we  walked  to  Mrs.  Law's,2  about  a  mile  farther. 
She  saw  us  from  the  windows  and  came  to  the  door  to 


1  Carre*  De  V.  Gemme,  afterwards  chief  of  division  in  the  prefecture, 
department  of  Charente. 

*  Thomas  Law,  a  brother  of  Lord  Ellenborough,  came  to  Washington 
in  1795  with  the  idea  of  making  an  enormous  fortune  by  speculating  in 
real  estate.  In  1796  he  married  Eliza  Parke  Custis,  a  descendant  of 
Lord  Baltimore  and  granddaughter  of  Mrs.  Washington.  They  lived 
unhappily,  separated  in  1804,  and  were  divorced  a  few  years  later.  There 
were  rumors  that  she  loved  the  world  and  its  admiration  too  much;  but 
Mr.  Law  was  himself  an  oddity.  One  of  the  stories  about  him  is  that 
going  to  the  post  office  for  his  letters  one  day  he  could  not  remember  his 
name  till  an  acquaintance  addressed  him. 


i8oo]  MRS.    LAW'S    KITCHEN  3 

meet  us,  took  each  by  the  hand  and  lead  us  in  the  parlour. 
We  had  sat  only  a  few  minutes  when  she  said,  "Lay  down 
your  hat  Mr.  Smith,  we  have  a  fine  roast  turkey,  and  you 
must  stay  and  eat  of  it."  Talking  of  conveniences  in 
cooking,  "Come,"  said  she,  "you  are  young  housekeepers, 
come  and  look  at  my  kitchen."  She  has  a  contrivance, 
more  convenient  than  any  I  ever  heard  of  and  as  you  are 
in  search  of  conveniences  I  will  describe  it.  The  chimney 
is  six  feet  in  width,  in  this  is  placed  a  thing  called  the 
Ranger,  in  the  center  is  a  grate,  about  two  feet  wide,  on 
one  side  a  place  to  boil  in,  which  contains  6  or  8  gallons 
of  water,  on  the  other  side  a  place  of  the  same  dimensions, 
for  an  oven,  which  opens  in  front,  with  a  door,  and  has  a 
shelf  inside,  so  that  two  ranges  of  dishes  can  bake  at 
the  same  time.  Both  the  boiler  and  oven  are  heated  by 
the  pine  in  the  grate;  which  at  the  same  time  can  roast 
anything  placed  before  it,  and  as  many  pots  as  you  please 
can  hang  over  it.  The  kitchen  is  well  heated,  and  the  oven 
and  boiler  are  always  of  a  uniform  heat.  Here,  with  a 
small  quantity  of  coal,  she  has  often  cooked  dinner  for 
large  companies.  They  are  to  be  had  at  Baltimore.  We 
left  Mr.  S.  in  the  parlour,  and  she  took  me  up  stairs,  where 
she  was  putting  up  curtains;  I  assisted  her,  went  from 
room  to  room  and  we  chatted  like  old  acquaintance.  Then 
while  she  dressed  for  dinner,  I  played  with  the  little  Eliza 
and  her  doll.  The  sweet  little  creature  calls  me  aunt,  and 
I  am  to  call  her  my  Mary  Ann.  When  we  went  down  to 
dinner,  we  found  4  or  five  gentlemen  who  had  accidentally 
come  in.  Soon  after  Capt.  Tingey's  family  joined  us. 
Mr.  Peter  and  Mr.  Lewis  her  two  brothers  in  law  were  of 
the  party.  Vivacity  and  good  humour  prevailed  and  our 
party  was  fifty  times  more  agreeable  than  if  we  had  all  met 
by  previous  invitation.  I  have  never  met  with  any  one 
so  destitute  of  all  form  or  ceremony  as  this  sweet  woman. 


4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

After  dinner,  the  gentlemen  all  dispersed  and  I  was  about 
accompanying  Mr.  S.,  but  Mrs.  Tingey  told  me  if  I  would 
stay  to  tea,  she  would  take  me  home  in  the  carriage.  I 
agreed,  Mrs.  L.  amused  herself  with  a  magazine,  and  left 
us  to  amuse  ourselves  as  we  chose.  I  cut  out  and  fitted 
a  muslin  frock  for  my  adopted  niece  a  la  mode  Mary  Ann, 
while  she  played  by  my  side,  and  the  Tingey  ladies  talked 
with  me.  About  an  hour  after  dinner,  before  the  table 
was  removed,  a  servant  brought  in  a  waiter  of  shusheng 
tea  and  a  few  biscuits.  When  we  parted,  I  had  two  sweet 
kisses  from  Mrs.  Law,  with  an  invitation  frequently  to 
repeat  my  visit  and  a  promise  of  soon  seeing  me.  Of 
Mr.  Law,  I  say  nothing,  it  is  impossible  to  describe  this 
man ;  he  is  one  of  the  strangest  I  ever  met  with ;  all  good 
nature  and  benevolence;  his  ruling  passion  is  to  serve 
every  one,  which  keeps  him  perpetually  busy,  about 
others.  Scarcely  a  day  passes  without  his  calling,  and 
at  all  hours ;  the  other  morning  he  was  almost  in  the  room 
before  we  were  up.  Cap.  T.  and  Dr.  May1  subscribed 
to  the  paper,  besides  several  of  inferior  note.  Mr.  S. 
received  a  letter  from  Lancaster,  containing  the  names  of 
32  subscribers,  out  of  the  Pens,  legislature.  We  find 
that  an  acquaintance  with  the  gentlemen  of  this  place,  is 
advantageous  to  him,  and  that  the  best  way  of  getting 
business,  is  by  being  generally  known,  and  by  being  con- 
nected with  the  most  respectable  people.  Induced  by  this, 
he  has  subscribed  to  the  dancing  Assembly.2  The  cards, 
he  is  to  print,  will  amount  really  to  the  subscription. 
Mrs.  Tingey  called  for  me  the  other  day,  to  accompany 

1  Frederick  May  came  to  Washington  in  1795  and  was  the  father  of 
the  medical  profession  in  the  city.  His  son  John  Frederick  May  was 
the  first  Washington  physician  whose  reputation  extended  beyond  the 
city. 

2  The  Washington  Dancing  Assembly  was  started  by  Mr.  Law,  Captain 
Tingey,  Dr.  May  and  other  gentlemen  of  the  city,  and  was  the  first 
organized  effort  to  give  some  form  to  its  social  amusements. 


i8oo]       INTERVIEW    WITH   JEFFERSON  5 

her  to  G.  Town.  After  shopping  we  drove  to  Mrs.  Bells, 
where  as  usual  I  met  a  most  affectionate  welcome.  Bread, 
butter,  ham  and  cakes  were  set  before  us,  and  when  I 
came  away  my  pockets  were  loaded  with  cake  and  apples ; 
a  bottle  of  milk,  one  of  yeast,  a  bundle  of  hops,  were  put 
in  the  carriage  for  me,  with  an  injunction  of  applying 
for  more,  when  these  were  gone.  My  good  Betsy,  con- 
tinues to  do  well ;  always  on  coming  home  of  an  evening, 
I  find  the  tea  table  set,  the  candles  lighted  and  a  good 
fire.  I  wish  you  could  peep  on  us  at  this  period.  Mr. 
S.  enjoys  his  tea  so  much,  that  it  gives  a  double  relish  to 
mine.  Poor  Bibby  notwithstanding  her  stupidity  makes 
a  nice  kind  of  biscuit,  she  is  always  delighted  when  I  ask 
her  to  make  them,  and  if  I  give  any  of  them  to  the  young 
men,  she  says  "Au  now  Misses,  why  you  give  away  wat  I 
make  for  you  sel."  Betsy  too,  desirous  of  trying  her 
hand,  made  me  this  evening  some  very  good  short  cakes. 
(What  strange  information  to  send  200  miles). 

This  morning  Mrs.  Otis  sent  her  carriage  for  us  and 
we  went  to  church,  where  a  good  sermon  was  preached  to 
a  small  but  respectable  congret.  After  church  Capt.  T. 
Dr.  May  and  Mrs.  Foster  came  home  with  us,  and  I  re- 
ceived them  sans  ceremonie  in  my  chamber.  As  I  have 
but  little  more  to  say,  I  will  not  begin  another  sheet.  Mr. 
Paterson  was  here  on  Friday  and  was  quite  well.  Re- 
member us  to  all  our  dear  friends  and  bid  them  not  to 
forget  us.     Farewell  my  dear  Sisters. 


REMINISCENCES1 

"And  is  this,"  said  I,  after  my  first  interview  with  Mr. 
Jefferson,  "the  violent  democrat,  the  vulgar  demagogue, 

1  From  Mrs.  Smith's  note  book.     It  was  written  in  1837,  ^ut  r^'ate5 
to  her  first  arrival  in  Washington, 


6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

the  bold  atheist  and  profligate  man  I  have  so  often  heard 
denounced  by  the  federalists  ?  Can  this  man  so  meek  and 
mild,  yet  dignified  in  his  manners,  with  a  voice  so  soft 
and  low,  with  a  countenance  so  benignant  and  intelligent, 
can  he  be  that  daring  leader  of  a  faction,  that  disturber 
of  the  peace,  that  enemy  of  all  rank  and  order?"  Mr. 
Smith,  indeed,  (himself  a  democrat)  had  given  me  a  very 
different  description  of  this  celebrated  individual ;  but  his 
favourable  opinion  I  attributed  in  a  great  measure  to  his 
political  feelings,  which  led  him  zealously  to  support  and 
exalt  the  party  to  which  he  belonged,  especially  its  popular 
and  almost  idolized  leader.  Thus  the  virulence  of  party- 
spirit  was  somewhat  neutralized,  nay,  I  even  entertained 
towards  him  the  most  kindly  dispositions,  knowing  him  to 
be  not  only  politically  but  personally  friendly  to  my  hus- 
band ;  yet  I  did  believe  that  he  was  an  ambitious  and  vio- 
lent demagogue,  coarse  and  vulgar  in  his  manners,  awk- 
ward and  rude  in  his  appearance,  for  such  had  the  public 
journals  and  private  conversations  of  the  federal  party 
represented  him  to  be.1 

In  December,  1800,  a  few  days  after  Congress  had  for 
the  first  time  met  in  our  new  Metropolis,  I  was  one  morn- 
ing sitting  alone  in  che  parlour,  when  the  servant  opened 
the  door  and  showed  in  a  gentleman  who  wished  to  see 
my  husband.  The  usual  frankness  and  care  with  which 
I  met  strangers,  were  somewhat  checked  by  the  dignified 
and  reserved  air  of  the  present  visitor;  but  the  chilled 
feeling  was  only  momentary,  for  after  taking  the  chair  I 
offered  him  in  a  free  and  easy  manner,  and  carelessly 
throwing  his  arm  on  the  table  near  which  he  sat,  he 
turned  towards  me  a  countenance  beaming  with  an  ex- 
pression of  benevolence  and  with  a  manner  and  voice  al- 
most femininely  soft  and  gentle,  entered  into  conversation 
"Col.  John  Bayard,  Mrs.  Smith's  father,  was  a  federalist. 


Colonel  John   Bayard,  father  of  Margaret   Bayard. 

A  famous  Revolutionary  officer,  Speaker  of  the  Pennsylvania 
Assembly,  and  Member  of  the  Continental  Congress. 


i8oo]        IMPRESSIONS    OF   JEFFERSON  7 

on  the  commonplace  topics  of  the  day,  from  which,  before 
I  was  conscious  of  it,  he  had  drawn  me  into  observa- 
tions of  a  more  personal  and  interesting  nature.  I  know 
not  how  it  was,  but  there  was  something  in  his  manner, 
his  countenance  and  voice  that  at  once  unlocked  my  heart, 
and  in  answer  to  his  casual  enquiries  concerning  our  sit- 
uation in  our  new  home,  as  he  called  it,  I  found  myself 
frankly  telling  him  what  I  liked  or  disliked  in  our  present 
circumstances  and  abode.  I  knew  not  who  he  was,  but 
the  interest  with  which  he  listened  to  my  artless  details, 
induced  the  idea  he  was  some  intimate  acquaintance  or 
friend  of  Mr.  Smith's  and  put  me  perfectly  at  my  ease; 
in  truth  so  kind  and  conciliating  were  his  looks  and  man- 
ners that  I  forgot  he  was  not  a  friend  of  my  own,  until  on 
the  opening  of  the  door,  Mr.  Smith  entered  and  intro- 
duced the  stranger  to  me  as  Mr.  Jefferson. 

I  felt  my  cheeks  burn  and  my  heart  throb,  and  not  a 
word  more  could  I  speak  while  he  remained.  Nay,  such 
was  my  embarrassment  I  could  scarcely  listen  to  the  con- 
versation carried  on  between  him  and  my  husband.  For 
several  years  he  had  been  to  me  an  object  of  peculiar  in- 
terest. In  fact  my  destiny,  for  on  his  success  in  the  pend- 
ing presidential  election,  or  rather  the  success  of  the  dem- 
ocratic party,  (their  interests  were  identical)  my  condition 
in  life,  my  union  with  the  man  I  loved,  depended.  In 
addition  to  this  personal  interest,  I  had  long  participated 
in  my  husband's  political  sentiments  and  anxieties,  and 
looked  upon  Mr.  Jefferson  as  the  corner  stone  on  which 
the  edifice  of  republican  liberty  was  to  rest,  looked  upon 
him  as  the  champion  of  human  rights,  the  reformer  of 
abuses,  the  head  of  the  republican  party,  which  must  rise 
or  fall  with  him,  and  on  the  triumph  of  the  republican 
party  I  devoutly  believed  the  security  and  welfare  of  my 
country  depended.     Notwithstanding  those  exalted  views 


8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

of  Mr.  Jefferson  as  a  political  character;  and  ardently 
eager  as  I  was  for  his  success,  I  retained  my  previously 
conceived  ideas  of  the  coarseness  and  vulgarity  of  his 
appearance  and  manners  and  was  therefore  equally  awed 
and  surprised,  on  discovering  the  stranger  whose  deport- 
ment was  so  dignified  and  gentlemanly,  whose  language 
was  so  refined,  whose  voice  was  so  gentle,  whose  coun- 
tenance was  so  benignant,  to  be  no  other  than  Thomas 
Jefferson.  How  instantaneously  were  all  these  precon- 
ceived prejudices  dissipated,  and  in  proportion  to  their 
strength,  was  the  reaction  that  took  place  in  my  opinions 
and  sentiments.  I  felt  that  I  had  been  the  victim  of 
prejudice,  that  I  had  been  unjust.  The  revolution  of 
feeling  was  complete  and  from  that  moment  my  heart 
warmed  to  him  with  the  most  affectionate  interest  and  I 
implicitly  believed  all  that  his  friends  and  my  husband  be- 
lieved and  which  the  after  experience  of  many  years  con- 
firmed.   Yes,  not  only  was  he  great,  but  a  truly  good  man ! 

The  occasion  of  his  present  visit,  was  to  make  arrange- 
ments with  Mr.  Smith  for  the  publication  of  his  Man- 
ual for  Congress,  now  called  Jefferson's  manual.  The 
original  was  in  his  own  neat,  plain,  but  elegant  hand 
writing.  The  manuscript  was  as  legible  as  printing  and 
its  unadorned  simplicity  was  emblematical  of  his  char- 
acter. It  is  still  preserved  by  Mr.  Smith  and  valued  as 
a  precious  relique. 

After  the  affair  of  business  was  settled,  the  conversa- 
tion became  general  and  Mr.  Jefferson  several  times 
addressed  himself  to  me;  but  although  his  manner  was 
unchanged,  my  feelings  were,  and  I  could  not  recover 
sufficient  ease  to  join  in  the  conversation.  He  shook 
hands  cordially  with  us  both  when  he  departed,  and  in 
a  manner  which  said  as  plain  as  words  could  do,  "I  am 
your  friend.,, 


i8oo]        CONRAD'S    BOARDING   HOUSE  9 

During  part  of  the  time  that  Mr.  Jefferson  was  Presi- 
dent of  the  Philosophical  Society  (in  Philadelphia)  Mr. 
Smith  was  its  secretary.  A  prize  offered  by  the  society 
for  the  best  system  of  national  education,  was  gained  by 
Mr.  Smith.  The  merit  of  this  essay,  first  attracted  the 
notice  of  Mr.  J.  to  its  author ;  the  personal  acquaintance 
which  then  took  place,  led  to  a  friendly  intercourse  which 
influenced  the  future  destiny  of  my  husband,  as  it  was 
by  Mr.  Jefferson's  advice,  that  he  removed  to  Washing- 
ton and  established  the  National  Intelligencer.  Esteem 
for  the  talents  and  character  of  the  editor  first  won  Mr. 
Jefferson's  regard,  a  regard  which  lasted  to  the  end  of  his 
life  and  was  a  thousand  times  evinced  by  acts  of  personal 
kindness  and  confidence. 

At  this  time  Mr.  Jefferson  was  vice-President  and  in 
nomination  for  the  Presidency.  Our  infant  city  afforded 
scant  accommodations  for  the  members  of  Congress. 
There  were  few  good  boarding-houses,  but  Mr.  Jefferson 
was  fortunate  enough  to  obtain  one  of  the  best.  Thomas 
Law  one  of  the  wealthiest  citizens  and  largest  proprietors 
of  city  property,  had  just  finished  for  his  own  use  a  com- 
modious and  handsome  house  on  Capitol  hill;  this,  on 
discovering  the  insufficiency  of  accommodation,  he  gave 
up  to  Conrad  for  a  boarding  house,  and  removed  to  a 
very  inconvenient  dwelling  on  Greenleaf's  point,  almost 
two  miles  distant  from  the  Capitol.1  And  here  while  I 
think  of  it,  though  somewhat  out  of  place,  I  will  mention 
an  incident  that  occurred  which  might  have  changed  the 
whole  aspect  of  the  political  world  and  have  disappointed 
the  long  and  deep  laid  plans  of  politicians,  so  much  do 
great  events  depend  on  trivial  accidents.  This  out-of-the- 
way-house  to  which  Mr.  Law  removed,  was  separated 
from  the  most  inhabited  part  of  the  city  by  old  fields  and 
waste  grounds  broken  up  by  deep  gulleys  or  ravines  over 


io  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

which  there  was  occasionally  a  passable  road.  The  elec- 
tion of  President  by  Congress  was  then  pending,  one  vote 
given  or  withheld  would  decide  the  question  between  Mr. 
Jefferson  and  Mr.  Burr.  Mr.  Bayard  from  Delaware  held 
that  vote.  He  with  other  influential  and  leading  mem- 
bers went  to  a  ball  given  by  Mr.  Law.  The  night  was 
dark  and  rainy,  and  on  their  attempt  to  return  home,  the 
coachman  lost  his  way,  and  until  daybreak  was  driving 
about  this  waste  and  broken  ground  and  if  not  over- 
turned into  the  deep  gullies  was  momentarily  in  danger 
of  being  so,  an  accident  which  would  most  probably  have 
cost  some  of  the  gentlemen  their  lives,  and  as  it  so 
happened  that  the  company  in  the  coach  consisted  of 
Mr.  Bayard  and  three  other  members  of  Congress  who 
had  a  leading  and  decisive  influence  in  this  difficult 
crisis  of  public  affairs,  the  loss  of  either,  might  have 
turned  the  scales,  then  so  nicely  poised.  Had  it  been  so, 
and  Mr.  Burr  been  elected  to  the  Presidency,  what  an 
awful  conflict,  what  civil  commotions  would  have  ensued. 
Conrad's  boarding  house  was  on  the  south  side  of  Cap- 
itol hill  and  commanded  an  extensive  and  beautiful  view. 
It  was  on  the  top  of  the  hill,  the  precipitous  sides  of  which 
were  covered  with  grass,  shrubs  and  trees  in  their  wild 
uncultivated  state.  Between  the  foot  of  the  hill  and  the 
broad  Potomac  extended  a  wide  plain,  through  which  the 
Tiber  wound  its  way.  The  romantic  beauty  of  this  little 
stream  was  not  then  deformed  by  wharves  or  other  works 
of  art.  Its  banks  were  shaded  with  tall  and  umbrageous 
forest  trees  of  every  variety,  among  which  the  superb 
Tulep-Poplar  rose  conspicuous ;  the  magnolia,  the  azalia, 
the  hawthorn,  the  wild-rose  and  many  other  indigenous 
shrubs  grew  beneath  their  shade,  while  violets,  anemonies 
and  a  thousand  other  sweet  wood-flowers  found  shelter 
among  their  roots,  from  the  winter's  frost  and  greeted 


i8oo]  SCENERY    OF    WASHINGTON  n 

with  the  earliest  bloom  the  return  of  spring.  The  wild 
grape-vine  climbing  from  tree  to  tree  hung  in  unpruned 
luxuriance  among  the  branches  of  the  trees  and  formed 
a  fragrant  and  verdant  canopy  over  the  greensward,  im- 
pervious to  the  noon  day-sun.  Beautiful  banks  of  Tiber ! 
delightful  rambles !  happy  hours !  How  like  a  dream  do 
ye  now  appear.  Those  trees,  those  shrubs,  those  flowers 
are  gone.  Man  and  his  works  have  displaced  the  charms 
of  nature.  The  poet,  the  botanist,  the  sportsman  and  the 
lover  who  once  haunted  those  paths  must  seek  far  hence 
the  shades  in  which  they  delight.  Not  only  the  banks  of 
the  Tiber,  but  those  of  the  Potomack  and  Anacosta,  were 
at  this  period  adorned  with  native  trees  and  shrubs  and 
were  distinguished  by  as  romantic  scenery  as  any  rivers  in 
our  country.  Indeed  the  whole  plain  was  diversified  with 
groves  and  clumps  of  forest  trees  which  gave  it  the 
appearance  of  a  fine  park.  Such  as  grew  on  the  public 
grounds  ought  to  have  been  preserved,  but  in  a  govern- 
ment such  as  ours,  where  the  people  are  sovereign,  this 
could  not  be  done.  The  people,  the  poorer  inhabitants 
cut  down  these  noble  and  beautiful  trees  for  fuel.  In  one 
single  night  seventy  tulip-Poplars  were  girdled,  by  which 
process  life  is  destroyed  and  afterwards  cut  up  at  their 
leisure  by  the  people.  Nothing  afflicted  Mr.  Jefferson 
like  this  wanton  destruction  of  the  fine  trees  scattered  over 
the  city-grounds.  I  remember  on  one  occasion  (it  was 
after  he  was  President)  his  exclaiming  "How  I  wish  that 
I  possessed  the  power  of  a  despot."  The  company  at 
table  stared  at  a  declaration  so  opposed  to  his  disposition 
and  principles.  "Yes,"  continued  he,  in  reply  to  their 
inquiring  looks,  "I  wish  I  was  a  despot  that  I  might  save 
the  noble,  the  beautiful  trees  that  are  daily  falling  sacri- 
fices to  the  cupidity  of  their  owners,  or  the  necessity  of  the 
poor." 


i2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

"And  have  you  not  authority  to  save  those  on  the 
public  grounds?"  asked  one  of  the  company.  "No," 
answered  Mr.  J.,  "only  an  armed  guard  could  save  them. 
The  unnecessary  felling  of  a  tree,  perhaps  the  growth  of 
centuries  seems  to  me  a  crime  little  short  of  murder,  it 
pains  me  to  an  unspeakable  degree."  x 

It  was  partly  from  this  love  of  nature,  that  he  selected 
Conrad's  boarding  house,  being  there  able  to  enjoy  the 
beautiful  and  extensive  prospect  described  above.  Here 
he  had  a  separate  drawing-room  for  the  reception  of  his 
visitors ;  in  all  other  respects  he  lived  on  a  perfect  equal- 
ity with  his  fellow  boarders,  and  eat  at  a  common  table. 
Even  here,  so  far  from  taking  precedence  of  the  other 
members  of  Congress,  he  always  placed  himself  at  the 
lowest  end  of  the  table.  Mrs.  Brown,  the  wife  of  the 
senator  from  Kentucky,  suggested  that  a  seat  should 
be  offered  him  at  the  upper  end,  near  the  fire,  if  not  on 
account  of  his  rank  as  vice-President,  at  least  as  the 
oldest  man  in  company.  But  the  idea  was  rejected  by 
his  democratic  friends,  and  he  occupied  during  the  whole 
winter  the  lowest  and  coldest  seat  at  a  long  table  at  which 
a  company  of  more  than  thirty  sat  down.  Even  on  the 
day  of  his  inauguration  when  he  entered  the  dining-hall 
no  other  seat  was  offered  him  by  the  gentlemen.  Mrs. 
Brown  from  an  impulse  which  she  said  she  could  not 
resist,  offered  him  her  seat,  but  he  smilingly  declined  it, 
and  took  his  usual  place  at  the  bottom  of  the  table.  She 
said  she  felt  indignant  and  for  a  moment  almost  hated 
the  levelling  principle  of  democracy,  though  her  husband 
was  a  zealous  democrat.  Certainly  this  was  carrying 
equality  rather  too  far;  there  is  no  incompatibility  be- 
tween politeness  and  republicanism ;  grace  cannot  weaken 
and  rudeness  cannot  strengthen  a  good  cause,  but  democ- 
xThis  anecdote  is  given  in  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  II,  p.  40. 


i8oo]  JEFFERSON    AT    CHURCH  13 

racy  is  more  jealous  of  power  and  priviledge  than  even 
despotism. 

At  this  time  the  only  place  for  public  worship  in  our 
new-city  was  a  small,  a  very  small  frame  building  at  the 
bottom  of  Capitol-hill.  It  had  been  a  tobacco-house  be- 
longing to  Daniel  Carrol1  and  was  purchased  by  a  few 
Episcopalians  for  a  mere  trifle  and  fitted  up  as  a  church 
in  the  plainest  and  rudest  manner.  During  the  first 
winter,  Mr.  Jefferson  regularly  attended  service  on  the 
sabbath-day  in  the  humble  church.  The  congregation 
seldom  exceeded  50  or  60,  but  generally  consisted  of 
about  a  score  of  hearers.  He  could  have  had  no  motive 
for  this  regular  attendance,  but  that  of  respect  for  public 
worship,  choice  of  place  or  preacher  he  had  not,  as  this, 
with  the  exception  of  a  little  Catholic  chapel  was  the  only 
church  in  the  new  city.  The  custom  of  preaching  in  the 
Hall  of  Representatives  had  not  then  been  attempted, 
though  after  it  was  established  Mr.  Jefferson  during 
his  whole  administration,  was  a  most  regular  attendant. 
The  seat  he  chose  the  first  sabbath,  and  the  adjoining  one, 
which  his  private  secretary  occupied,  were  ever  after- 
wards by  the  courtesy  of  the  congregation,  left  for  him 
and  his  secretary.  I  have  called  these  Sunday  assemblies 
in  the  capitol,  a  congregation,  but  the  almost  exclusive 
appropriation  of  that  word  to  religious  assemblies,  pre- 
vents its  being  a  descriptive  term  as  applied  in  the  present 
case,  since  the  gay  company  who  thronged  the  H.  R. 
looked  very  little  like  a  religious  assembly.  The  occasion 
presented  for  display  was  not  only  a  novel,  but  a  favour- 
able one  for  the  youth,  beauty  and  fashion  of  the  city, 

1  This  was  Daniel  Carroll,  of  Duddington  Manor;  not  Daniel  Carroll 
of  Upper  Marlborough,  who  signed  the  constitution,  was  a  member  of 
the  first  congress  and  a  commissioner  of  the  District.  Historians  usually 
confound  the  two.  Mrs.  Smith's  spelling  of  proper  names  and  her  other 
spelling  also  has  been  preserved  in  the  text. 


i4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

Georgetown  and  environs.  The  members  of  Congress, 
gladly  gave  up  their  seats  for  such  fair  auditors,  and  either 
lounged  in  the  lobbies,  or  round  the  fire  places,  or  stood 
beside  the  ladies  of  their  acquaintance.  This  sabbath- 
day-resort  became  so  fashionable,  that  the  floor  of  the 
house  offered  insufficient  space,  the  platform  behind  the 
Speaker's  chair,  and  every  spot  where  a  chair  could  be 
wedged  in  was  crowded  with  ladies  in  their  gayest  cos- 
tume and  their  attendant  beaux  and  who  led  them  to  their 
seats  with  the  same  gallantry  as  is  exhibited  in  a  ball 
room.  Smiles,  nods,  whispers,  nay  sometimes  tittering 
marked  their  recognition  of  each  other,  and  beguiled  the 
tedium  of  the  service.  Often,  when  cold,  a  lady  would 
leave  her  seat  and  led  by  her  attending  beau  would  make 
her  way  through  the  crowd  to  one  of  the  fire-places  where 
she  could  laugh  and  talk  at  her  ease.  One  of  the  officers 
of  the  house,  followed  by  his  attendant  with  a  great  bag 
over  his  shoulder,  precisely  at  12  o'clock,  would  make  his 
way  through  the  hall  to  the  depository  of  letters  to 
put  them  in  the  mail-bag,  which  sometimes  had  a  most 
ludicrous  effect,  and  always  diverted  attention  from  the 
preacher.  The  musick  was  as  little  in  union  with  devo- 
tional feelings,  as  the  place.  The  marine-band,  were  the 
performers.  Their  scarlet  uniform,  their  various  instru- 
ments, made  quite  a  dazzling  appearance  in  the  gallery. 
The  marches  they  played  were  good  and  inspiring,  but 
in  their  attempts  to  accompany  the  psalm-singing  of  the 
congregation,  they  completely  failed  and  after  a  while, 
the  practice  was  discontinued, — it  was  too  ridiculous. 

Not  only  the  chaplains,  but  the  most  distinguished 
clergymen  who  visited  the  city,  preached  in  the  Capitol. 
I  remember  hearing  Mr.  E.  Everet,  afterwards  a  member 
of  Congress,  deliver  an  eloquent  and  flowery  discourse, 
to  a  most  thronged  and  admiring  audience.     But  as  a 


z8oo]       PREACHING   AT    THE    CAPITOL  15 

political  orator  he  afterwards  became  far  more  eloquent 
and  admired.  Preachers  of  every  sect  and  denomination 
of  christians  were  there  admitted — Catholics,  Unitarians, 
Quakers  with  every  intervening  diversity  of  sect.  Even 
women  were  allowed  to  display  their  pulpit  eloquence,  in 
this  national  Hall. 

When  Frederick  the  Great  commenced  his  reign,  in 
order  to  enforce  universal  tolleration  in  religion,  he 
formed  a  plan  which  he  believed  would  promote  harmony 
between  the  different  and  numerous  religious  sects.  This 
was  to  erect  a  spacious  Edefice,  or  temple,  in  which  at 
different  hours  the  public  service  of  all,  and  each  of  the 
christian  denominations  might  be  performed.  He  dis- 
cussed this  subject  with  Voltair,  who  with  some  difficulty 
convinced  him  of  its  impracticability,  and  that  the  relig- 
ious prejudices  which  divided  christians,  were  too  strong 
to  be  conquered  by  either  reason  or  despotic  power.  In 
the  Capitol  the  idea  of  this  philosophic  monarch  has  been 
realized,  without  coercion;  without  combination.  As 
Congress  is  composed  of  christians  of  every  persuasion, 
each  denomination  in  its  turn  has  supplied  chaplains  to 
the  two  houses  of  Congress,  who  preach  alternately  in  the 
Hall  of  Representatives.  Some  opposition  was  made 
both  to  a  Roman  Catholic  and  Unitarian,  but  did  not 
succeed.  Clergymen,  who  during  the  session  of  Con- 
gress visited  the  city,  were  invited  by  the  chaplains  to 
preach;  those  of  distinguished  reputation  attracted 
crowded  audiences  and  were  evidently  gratified  by  hav- 
ing such  an  opportunity  for  the  exercise  of  their  talents 
and  their  zeal.  The  admission  of  female  preachers,  has 
been  justly  reprobated:  curiosity  rather  than  piety  at- 
tracted throngs  on  such  occasions.  The  levity  which 
characterized  the  sabbath-day  assemblies  in  the  capitol  in 
former  years,  has  long  yielded  to  a  more  decorous  and 


16  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

reverent  demeanor.  The  attendance  of  the  marine-band 
was  soon  discontinued,  and  various  regulations  made, 
which  have  secured  a  serious  and  uninterrupted  attention 
to  the  religious  services  of  the  day. 

For  several  years  after  the  seat  of  government  was 
fixed  at  Washington,  there  were  but  two  small  churches. 
The  roman-catholic  chapel  in  F.  street,  then  a  little  frame 
building,  and  the  Episcopalian  church  at  the  foot  of  Cap- 
itol-hill; both,  very  small  and  mean  frame  buildings. 
Now,  in  1837  there  are  22  churches  of  brick  or  stone. 
Sunday  used  to  be  the  universal  day  for  visits  and  enter- 
tainments. Only  a  few,  very  few  of  the  gayest  citizens 
now,  either  pay  or  receive  visits.  There  was  one  sermon 
delivered  by  Mr.  Breckenridge  at  the  commencement  of 
the  war  that  was  deemed  quite  prophetic — whether  in- 
spired or  not,  his  predictions  were  certainly  and  accurately 
fulfilled.  This  pious  and  reverend  preacher,  made  up  in 
zeal  and  fidelity,  what  he  lacked  in  natural  talents  or 
acquired  knowledge,  and  in  the  plainest  and  boldest 
language  of  reprehension  addressed  the  members  of  Con- 
gress and  officers  of  government  present  on  that  occasion. 
The  subject  of  his  discourse  was  the  observance  of  the 
Sabbath.  After  enlarging  on  its  prescribed  duties,  he 
vehemently  declaimed  on  the  neglect  of  those  duties,  par- 
ticularly by  the  higher  classes  and  in  this  city,  more  es- 
pecially by  persons  connected  with  the  government.  He 
unshrinkingly  taxed  those  then  listening  to  him,  with  a 
desecration  of  this  holy  day,  by  their  devoting  it  to  amuse- 
ment— to  visiting  and  parties,  emphatically  condemning 
the  dinner-parties  given  at  the  white-house,  then  address- 
ing himself  to  the  members  of  Congress,  accused  them 
of  violating  the  day,  by  laws  they  had  made,  partic- 
ularly the  carrying  the  mail  on  the  sabbath;  he  en- 
numerated  the  men  and  horses  employed  for  this  purpose 


xSoo]         BRECKENRIDGE'S    PROPHESY  17 

through  the  union  and  went  into  details  striking  and 
impressive. 

"It  is  not  the  people  who  will  suffer,  for  these  enormi- 
ties," said  he,  "you,  the  law-givers,  who  are  the  cause  of 
this  crime,  will  in  your  public  capacity  suffer  for  it.  Yes, 
it  is  the  government  that  will  be  punished,  and  as,  with 
Nineveh  of  old,  it  will  not  be  the  habitations  of  the  people, 
but  your  temples  and  your  palaces  that  will  be  burned  to 
the  ground ;  for  it  is  by  fire  that  this  sin  has  usually  been 
punished."  He  then  gave  many  instances  from  scripture 
history  in  which  destruction  by  fire  of  cities,  dwellings 
and  persons,  had  been  the  consequence  of  violating  the 
Fourth  commandment. 

At  the  time  this  sermon  was  preached,  the  most  remote 
apprehension  did  not  exist  of  a  British  army  ever  reach- 
ing Washington,  although  war  was  impending.  His  pre- 
dictions were  verified.  The  Capitol,  the  President's 
House,  and  every  building  belonging  to  the  government 
were  destroyed  and  that  by  fire.  Mrs.  Madison  told  me 
that  on  her  return  to  the  city,  after  the  British  had  left  it, 
she  was  standing  one  day  at  her  sister's  door,  for  she  had 
no  house  of  her  own,  but  until  one  was  provided  by  the 
public,  resided  with  her  sister,  and  while  there,  looking 
on  the  devastation  that  spread  around,  saw  Mr.  Brecken- 
ridge  passing  along,  she  called  to  him  and  said,  "I  little 
thought,  Sir,  when  I  heard  that  threatening  sermon  of 
yours,  that  its  denunciation  would  so  soon  be  realized." 
"Oh,  Madam,"  he  replied,  "I  trust  this  chastening  of  the 
Lord,  may  not  be  in  vain." 

I  am  afraid  the  good  man's  hopes  were  never  realized, 
for  as  far  as  I  recollect,  there  was  not  for  many,  many 
years  afterwards  any  change  in  the  observance  of  the 
Sabbath. 


18  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 


TO   MISS   SUSAN   B.    SMITH1 

January  i ,  1 80 1 . 
.  .  .  The  other  evening,  Mrs.,  Miss  Tingey  and 
the  Capt,  Dr.  May,  (our  Physician,  an  amiable  handsome 
young  man)  Genl.  Van  Courtland2  and  Mr.  Holmes,3 
sans  ceremonie  passed  the  evening  with  us,  and  were  very 
merry  over  the  successive  dishes  of  fine  oysters.  Capt.  T. 
sings  a  good  song,  his  wife  and  daughters  accompany 
him.  As  not  one  of  these  folks  were  either  scientific  or 
sentimental,  these  songs  very  agreeably  supplied  the  place 
of  conversation.  Our  company  all  appeared  to  enjoy 
themselves,  and  therefore  I  was  quite  content.  Mrs.  Tin- 
gey and  the  girls  are  most  truly  friendly,  they  are  con- 
stantly urging  our  visiting  them  in  a  social  way,  and  they 
set  us  a  good  example  by  often  visiting  us.  .  .  .  Mrs. 
Law  has  been  absent  for  some  time  and  I  have  only  seen 
her  once,  within  6  weeks ;  excepting  the  evening  I  passed 
with  her  at  the  last  assembly.  Mrs.  Law,  Mrs.  Tingey, 
Mrs.  Otis,  Brown,  and  Bailey,4  from  N.  Y.  and  myself  sat 
together  the  whole  evening ;  seated  between  Mrs.  Brown 
and  Law,  and  occasionally  talking  to  different  gentlemen, 
my  time  passed  more  agreeably,  than  if  I  had  danced.  I 
could  not  help  wishing  for  you,  my  dear  Susan;  to  ac- 
company me ;  I  should  have  derived  much  pleasure  from 
seeing  you  in  the  dance;  especially  with  such  a  partner, 
as  the  beautiful,  graceful  and  all  accomplished  Genl.  Van 
Courtland,  who  with  his  powdered  wig,  made  a  most 
conspicuous  figure  in  the  room.  The  first  time  I  observed 
him  was  from  Mrs.  Law's  pinching  me  and  asking  in  a 

1  Mr.  Smith's  younger  sister. 

2  Philip  Van  Cortlandt,  of  Cortlandt  Manor,  N.  Y.,  a  Representative. 

3  David   Holmes,  a  Representative  from    Virginia;    afterwards  Senator 
from  Mississippi. 

4  Wife  of  Theodoras  Bailey,  of  Dutchess  Co.,  a  Representative. 


i8oi]     MADAME    EVE   AND    HER    DRESS         19 

low  voice  "If  that  gentleman  was  a  relation  of  mine." 
"A  relation  of  mine  I"  repeated  I  with  astonishment,  "why 
I  hope  you  do  not  think  so  from  any  likeness  that  exists  ?" 
"No,"  said  she,  smiling,  "I  only  wanted  the  liberty  of 
laughing  at  him."  And  to  be  sure,  his  erect  attitudes, 
and  studied  motions  made  us  think  he  had  taken  lessons  of 
some  antique  dancing  Gentleman,  of  the  yr.  one.  There 
was  a  lady,  too,  who  afforded  us  great  diversion,  I  titled 
her,  Madam  Eve,  and  called  her  dress  the  fig  leaf.  Next 
Winter  my  dear  Sister  I  trust  I  shall  enjoy  the  satis- 
faction, of  dressing  your  flaxen  locks,  (let  Sister  Mary 
say  what  she  will,  they  certainly  must  be  curled)  and 
ornament  your  person.  Whenever  our  plains  are  adorned 
by  Spring,  and  our  woods  have  regained  their  leafy  hon- 
ors, I  shall  expect  you  and  Sister  Mary  here  to  participate 
in  the  pleasures  of  that  delightful  season.  If  such  a 
thing  is  possible,  I  am  determined  you  shall  both  like 
Washington,  as  well  as  you  do  Abington.  If  warm  af- 
fection and  sincere  friendship,  can  render  an  abode  com- 
fortable and  happy,  then  my  dear  sisters  will  you  be  both 
comfortable  and  happy  in  the  house  of  your  affection- 
ate Brother.  Mr.  St.  Gemmes,  passed  most  of  this  even- 
ing with  us.  To  me,  his  society  is  more  interesting  and 
pleasing  than  any  I  have  met  with  in  this  place.  He  has 
no  striking  or  prominent  traits  of  character  and  differs 
from  other  Frenchmen  by  more  solidity  and  sobriety  of 
manner.  Mary  will  like  him  and  will,  I  predict,  have 
many  long  and  interesting  confabulations.  He,  Mr. 
Foster,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Brown,  are  our  weekly  visitors. 
The  other  afternoon,  these,  together  with  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Bailey  and  Mr.  Nicholas,1  drank  tea  here.  They  were  a 
sober  set,  and  we  discussed  sober  and  interesting  subjects. 

1  Wilson  Cary  Nicholas,  Senator  from  Virginia,  probably  the  ablest  man 
in  Congress. 


20  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

I  do  not  think,  Susan,  you  would  have  been  highly  de- 
lighted, and  as  for  Mr.  Nicholas  (I  mean  the  Senator)  he 
may  be  a  man  of  fine  talents,  but  that  of  conversation  is 
not  among  the  number.  His  manners  were  so  benumb- 
ing, that  I  could  scarcely  make  my  tongue  move.  Many 
other  gentlemen  of  congress  occasionally  visit  us,  but  as 
one  of  our  rich,  great  men  here,  observed,  they  are  just 
like  other  men,  and  so  they  are  not  worth  individual 
notice.  This  old  gentleman,  this  great,  rich  man,  has 
passed  his  life  within  this  territory,  and  when  the  Mem- 
bers of  Congress  arrived,  he  went  to  look  at  them  and 
told  Mr.  Law  he  saw  no  difference  between  them  and 
other  men,  they  were  made  alike,  had  the  same  kind  of 
faces  and  talked  as  they  did ! 

We  were  this  evening  informd  that  the  apples  and 
butter  had  arrived,  and  I  promise  you  they  shall  receive 
a  sincere  welcome,  and  be  treated  with  the  greatest  dis- 
tinction. I  am  every  day  more  and  more  pleased  with 
Betsy.  She  is  one  of  the  smartest  and  most  attentive 
servants  I  have  ever  met  with.  She  never  waits  for  me 
to  tell  her  to  do  her  work;  but  takes  pride  in  doing  it 
well.  She  has  a  great  deal  of  pride,  but  if  I  can  but 
make  it  an  instrument  of  industry  and  order,  I  shall 
begin  to  think  the  better  of  it.  My  old  man  and  woman, 
are  equally  faithful  and  industrious.  In  fact  I  have  no 
kind  of  trouble.     Dear  Susan  I  wish  you  were  as  happy. 

I  believe  I  have  more  than  answered  all  your  questions, 
and  I  have  only  now  to  beg  of  you,  not  to  let  our  friends 
forget  us,  and  to  assure  them  that  they  are  remembered 
by  us.  I  am  determined  you  shall  not  pay  postage  for 
nothing.  It  is  now  past  n  o'clock;  your  brother  half 
asleep  is  chewing  a  biscuit  and  I,  half  awake,  bid  you  a 
good  night  and  pleasant  dreams. 


Aaron  Burr. 

From  a  portrait  by  John  Vanderlyn,  in  the  possession  of 
Pierrepont  Edwards,  Elizabeth,  N.  J. 

i8oi]  JEFFERSON'S    ELECTION  21 


MR.  JEFFERSON'S  ELECTION1 

February,  1801. 

It  was  a  day,  "big  with  our  country's  fate" — a  fate  not 
suspended  on  the  triumph  or  defeat  of  two  contending 
armies,  drawn  forth  in  battle  array — but  on  two  contend- 
ing political  Parties,  who  after  years  of  conflict,  were 
new  brought  to  issue.  The  power,  which  had  been  origi- 
nally vested  in  the  Federal  party,  had  been  gradually 
diminished  by  the  force  of  public  opinion,  and  transferred 
to  the  Democratic  Party.  For  a  while  equality  of  power 
was  maintained — but  the  equipoise  did  not  last  long, — a 
great  and  preponderating  majority  in  the  Presidential 
election,  decided  the  relative  strength  of  parties,  the  Dem- 
ocrats prevailed  and  brought  into  oflice,  on  the  full-tide 
of  popularity,  the  man  who  had  been  long  recognized  as 
the  head  of  their  Party. 

According  to  the  constitutional  form,  two  men  were  to 
be  run,  the  one  for  President,  the  other  for  vice  President, 
and  he  who  had  the  greatest  number  of  votes  was  to  be 
President.  Such  was  the  form  of  the  law  of  election,  but 
in  the  execution  of  that  law,  the  people  knowingly  desig- 
nated the  vice-President,  and  voted  for  him  concurrently 
with  the  President ;  this  produced  an  unlooked  for  result 
and  a  constitutional  difficulty.  In  the  minds  or  inclina- 
tions of  the  people,  there  had  been  no  misapprehensions, 
no  dubiousness  of  choice.  They  as  manifestly  gave  their 
votes  for  Mr.  Jefferson  as  President  and  Mr.  Burr  as  vice- 
President,  as  if  each  vote  had  been  accompanied  with  such 
a  designation.  With  this  understanding  the  votes  for 
one  were  as  unanimous  as  the  votes  for  the  other,  and  the 
result,  of  course,  an  equality.  In  this  unlooked  for  emer- 
1  From  the  note  book. 


22  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

gency  what  was  to  be  done?  The  constitution  decided. 
The  choice  of  President  was  to  be  made  by  Congress. 

There  was  not  a  shadow  of  doubt  or  uncertainty  as  to 
the  object  of  the  people's  choice.  It  had  been  proclaimed 
too  widely  and  too  loudly  for  any  individual  to  remain 
ignorant  of  the  fact. 

But  this  accidental  and  uncalculated  result,  gave  the 
Federal  party  a  chance  of  preventing  the  election  of  a 
man  they  politically  abhorred — a  man  whose  weight  of 
influence  had  turned  the  scale  in  favour  of  the  opposing 
Party.  No  means  were  left  unattempted  (perhaps  I 
ought  to  say  no  honest  means)  to  effect  this  measure. 

It  was  an  aweful  crises.  The  People  who  with  such 
an  overwhelming  majority  had  declared  their  will  would 
never  peaceably  have  allowed  the  man  of  their  choice  to  be 
set  aside,  and  the  individual  they  had  chosen  as  vice-Pres- 
ident,  to  be  put  in  his  place.  A  civil  war  must  have  taken 
place,  to  be  terminated  in  all  human  probability  by  a  rup- 
ture of  the  Union.  Such  consequences  were  at  least  cal- 
culated on,  and  excited  a  deep  and  inflammatory  interest. 
Crowds  of  anxious  spirits  from  the  adjacent  county  and 
cities  thronged  to  the  seat  of  government  and  hung  like  a 
thunder  cloud  over  the  Capitol,  their  indignation  ready 
to  burst  on  any  individual  who  might  be  designated  as 
President  in  opposition  to  the  people's  known  choice. 
The  citizens  of  Baltimore  who  from  their  proximity,  were 
the  first  apprised  of  this  daring  design,  were  with  diffi- 
culty restrained  from  rushing  on  with  an  armed  force,  to 
prevent, — or  if  they  could  not  prevent,  to  avenge  this 
violation  of  the  People's  will  and  in  their  own  vehement 
language,  to  hurl  the  usurper  from  his  seat.  Mr.  Jeffer- 
son, then  President  of  the  Senate,  sitting  in  the  midst  of 
these  conspirators,  as  they  were  then  called,  unavoidably 
hearing  their  loudly  whispered  designs,  witnessing  their 


i8oi]         BALLOTING    FOR    PRESIDENT  23 

gloomy  and  restless  machinations,  aware  of  the  dreadful 
consequences,  which  must  follow  their  meditated  designs, 
preserved  through  this  trying  period  the  most  unclouded 
serenity,  the  most  perfect  equanimity.  A  spectator  who 
watched  his  countenance,  would  never  have  surmised,  that 
he  had  any  personal  interest  in  the  impending  event. 
Calm  and  self  possessed,  he  retained  his  seat  in  the  midst 
of  the  angry  and  stormy,  though  half  smothered  passions 
that  were  struggling  around  him,  and  by  this  dignified 
tranquility  repressed  any  open  violence — tho'  insufficient 
to  prevent  whispered  menaces  and  insults,  to  these  how- 
ever he  turned  a  deaf  ear,  and  resolutely  maintained  a 
placidity  which  baffled  the  designs  of  his  enemies. 

The  crisis  was  at  hand.  The  two  bodies  of  Congress 
met,  the  Senators  as  witnesses  the  Representatives  as 
electors.  The  question  on  which  hung  peace  or  war,  nay, 
the  Union  of  the  States  was  to  be  decided.  What  an 
awful  responsibility  was  attached  to  every  vote  given  on 
that  occasion.  The  sitting  was  held  with  closed  doors. 
It  lasted  the  whole  day,  the  whole  night.  Not  an  in- 
dividual left  that  solemn  assembly,  the  necessary  refresh- 
ment they  required  was  taken  in  rooms  adjoining  the 
Hall.  They  were  not  like  the  Roman  conclave  legally 
and  forcibly  confined,  the  restriction  was  self-imposed 
from  the  deep-felt  necessity  of  avoiding  any  extrinsic  or 
external  influence.  Beds,  as  well  as  food  were  sent,  for 
the  accommodation  of  those  whom  age  or  debility  dis- 
abled from  enduring  such  a  long  protracted  sitting — the 
ballotting  took  place  every  hour — in  the  interval  men  ate, 
drank,  slept  or  pondered  over  the  result  of  the  last 
ballot,  compared  ideas  and  persuasions  to  change  votes, 
or  gloomily  anticipated  the  consequences,,  let  the  result 
be  what  it  would. 

With  what  an  intense  interest  did  every  individual 


24  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

watch  each  successive  examination  of  the  Ballot-box,  how 
breathlessly  did  they  listen  to  the  counting  of  the  votes! 
Every  hour  a  messenger  brought  to  the  Editor  of  the  N.  I.1 
the  result  of  the  Ballot.  That  night  I  never  lay  down 
or  closed  my  eyes.  As  the  hour  drew  near  its  close,  my 
heart  would  almost  audibly  beat  and  I  was  seized  with  a 
tremour  that  almost  disabled  me  from  opening  the  door 
for  the  expected  messenger. 

What  then  must  have  been  the  feelings  of  that  Heroic 
woman,  who  had  assented  to  her  almost  dying  husband 
being  carried  in  this  cold  inclement  season,  the  distance 
of  nearly  two  miles,  from  his  lodgings  to  the  capitol  ? 

In  a  room  adjacent  to  the  Hall  of  R,  he  lay  on  a  bed 
beside  which  she  knelt  supporting  his  head  on  her  arm, 
while  with  her  hand  she  guided  his,  in  writing  the  name 
of  the  man  of  his  choice.  At  the  return  of  each  hour  the 
invalid  was  roused  from  his  disturbed  slumber,  much  to 
the  injury  of  his  health,  to  perform  this  important  duty. 
What  anxiety  must  this  fond  wife  have  endured,  what  a 
dread  responsibility  did  she  take  on  herself,  knowing  as 
she  did  and  having  been  appealed  to  by  his  physicians,  to 
resist  his  wish  to  go,  that  her  husband's  life  was  risked,  by 
his  removal  from  his  chamber  and  the  following  scene.2 
But  it  was  for  her  country !  And  the  American  equalled 
in  courage  and  patriotism  the  Roman  matron. 

For  more  than  thirty  hours  the  struggle  was  main- 
tained, but  finding  the  republican  phalanx  impenetrable, 
not  to  be  shaken  in  their  purpose,  every  effort  proving  un- 
availing, the  Senator  from  Delaware  [James  A.  Bayard]3 
the  withdrawal  of  whose  vote  would  determine  the  issue, 
took  his  part,  gave  up  his  party,  for  his  country,  and 

1  National  Intelligencer. 

'Joseph  Hopper    Nicholson  of    Maryland  was  the  member.     He  was 
carried  to  the  House  through  a  snow  storm. 
3  Mrs.  Smith's  first  cousin  and  adopted  brother.    He  was  a  Representative. 


James  A.    Bayard,   Senator  from  Delaware. 

From  an  engraving  of  the  original  painting  by  Wertmuller. 


i8oi]  JEFFERSON'S    TRIUMPH  25 

threw  into  the  box  a  blank  ballot,  thus  leaving  to  the  re- 
publicans a  majority.  Mr.  Jefferson  was  declared  duly 
elected.  The  assembled  crowds,  without  the  Capitol, 
rent  the  air  with  their  acclamations  and  gratulations,  and 
the  Conspirators  as  they  were  called,  hurried  to  their 
lodgings  under  strong  apprehensions  of  suffering  from 
the  just  indignation  of  their  fellow  citizens. 

The  dark  and  threatening  cloud  which  had  hung  over 
the  political  horrison,  rolled  harmlessly  away,  and  the 
sunshine  of  prosperity  and  gladness  broke  forth  and  ever 
since,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  passing  clouds  has  con- 
tinued to  shine  on  our  happy  country. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  B.  SMITH 

March  4,  1801. 

Let  me  write  to  you  my  dear  Susan,  e'er  that  glow  of 
enthusiasm  has  fled,  which  now  animates  my  feelings ;  let 
me  congratulate  not  only  you,  but  all  my  fellow  citizens, 
on  an  event  which  will  have  so  auspicious  an  influence 
on  their  political  welfare.  I  have  this  morning  witnessed 
one  of  the  most  interesting  scenes,  a  free  people  can  ever 
witness.  The  changes  of  administration,  which  in  every 
government  and  in  every  age  have  most  generally 
been  epochs  of  confusion,  villainy  and  bloodshed,  in  this 
our  happy  country  take  place  without  any  species  of  dis- 
traction, or  disorder.  This  day,  has  one  of  the  most 
amiable  and  worthy  men  taken  that  seat  to  which  he  was 
called  by  the  voice  of  his  country.  I  cannot  describe  the 
agitation  I  felt,  while  I  looked  around  on  the  various 
multitude  and  while  I  listened  to  an  address,  containing 
principles  the  most  correct,  sentiments  the  most  liberal, 
and  wishes  the  most  benevolent,  conveyed  in  the  most 


26  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

appropriate  and  elegant  language  and  in  a  manner  mild 
as  it  was  firm.  If  doubts  of  the  integrity  and  talents 
of  Mr.  Jefferson  ever  existed  in  the  minds  of  any  one, 
methinks  this  address  must  forever  eradicate  them.  The 
Senate  chamber  was  so  crowded  that  I  believe  not  another 
creature  could  enter.  On  one  side  of  the  house  the  Sen- 
ate sat,  the  other  was  resigned  by  the  representatives  to 
the  ladies.  The  roof  is  arched,  the  room  half  circle,  every 
inch  of  ground  was  occupied.  It  has  been  conjectured  by 
several  gentlemen  whom  I've  asked,  that  there  were  near 
a  thousand  persons  within  the  walls.  The  speech  was 
delivered  in  so  low  a  tone  that  few  heard  it.  Mr.  Jefferson 
had  given  your  Brother  a  copy  early  in  the  morning,1  so 
that  on  coming  out  of  the  house,  the  paper  was  distributed 
immediately.  Since  then  there  has  been  a  constant  suc- 
cession of  persons  coming  for  the  papers.  I  have  been 
interrupted  several  times  in  this  letter  by  the  gentlemen 
of  Congress,  who  have  been  to  bid  us  their  adieus ;  since 
three  o'clock  there  has  been  a  constant  succession.  Mr. 
Claibourn,2  a  most  amiable  and  agreeable  man,  called  the 
moment  before  his  departure  and  there  is  no  one  whose 
society  I  shall  more  regret  the  loss  of.  You  will  smile 
when  I  tell  you  that  Gouveneur  Morris,  Mr.  Dayton  and 
Bayard3  drank  tea  here;  they  have  just  gone  after  sitting 
near  two  hours. 

Mr.  Foster  will  be  the  bearer  of  this  letter;  he  is  a 
widower,  looking  out  for  a  wife ;  he  is  a  man  of  respect- 
able talents,  and  most  amiable  disposition  and  comfortable 

1  The  original  in  Jefferson's  handwriting  is  among  the  papers  of  Mr.  J. 
Henley  Smith;  also  his  second  inaugural  address  in  his  handwriting  and 
signed. 

2  William  Charles  Cole  Claiborn,  Representative  from  Virginia,  had  just 
been  appointed  Governor  of  Mississippi. 

3  All  three  being  strong  Federalists  and  the  National  Intelligencer  a. 
Republican  paper.  Jonathan  Dayton  was  then  a  Senator  from  New 
Jersey,  and  James  A.  Bayard  Representative  from  Delaware* 


[i8oi        FRIENDSHIP    OF    GALLATINS  27 

fortune.  What  think  you  my  good  sister  Mary  of  set- 
ting your  cap  for  him?  As  for  you,  Susan,  you  are 
rather  too  young,  and  I  have  another  in  my  eye  for 
you.  One  recommendation  Mr.  F.  will  have  in  your 
eyes,  that  he  has  been  this  winter  on  the  most  social  and 
friendly  terms  with  us,  seen  us  very  often  and  can  tell 
you  a  great  deal  about  us. 

I  trust  my  dear  sisters  we  shall  see  you  soon  after  you 
receive  this  letter.  I  have  been  so  often  interrupted  while 
writing  it,  that  I  have  felt  inclined  to  throw  it  aside,  but  as 
I  have  a  great  many  more  letters  to  write  by  Mr.  Foster, 
I  must  let  you  take  it  as  it  is.  How  is  Mrs.  Higginson  ? 
I  wish  to  hear  particularly  something  about  her.  If  I 
had  not  so  many  correspondents  already,  I  should  ask 
communications  from  herself.  I  have  written  this  in  a 
hasty  and  desultory  manner.     Adieu. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  B.  SMITH 

May  26,  1801. 
.  .  .  Our  City,  is  now  as  gay  as  in  the  winter ;  the 
arrival  of  all  the  secretaries,  seems  to  give  new  anima- 
tion to  business,  and  the  settlements  of  their  families, 
affords  employment  to  some  of  our  tradesmen.  Mrs. 
Gallatin1  is  in  our  neighborhood  at  present,  she  is.  ex- 
tremely friendly  and  seems  to  consider  me  as  her  most 
intimate  friend.  I  see  her  often  and  have  spent  two  or 
three  mornings  visiting  and  shopping  with  her.  The 
house  Mr.  G.  has  taken  is  next  door  to  the  Madisons' 
and  three  miles  distant  from  us.2  I  regret  this  circum- 
stance, as  it  will  prevent  that  intimate  intercourse  which 

1  She  was  Hannah  Nicholson,  of  New  York,  daughter  of  Commodore 
Nicholson. 

2  The  house  is  still  standing  on  the  north  side  of  M.  St.,  near  326*. 


28  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

I  wished  to  enjoy,  with  her  and  Maria  N.1  Mrs.  Madi- 
son is  at  the  President's  at  present;  I  have  become 
acquainted  with  and  am  highly  pleased  with  her;  she 
has  good  humour  and  sprightliness,  united  to  the  most 
affable  and  agreeable  manners.  I  admire  the  simplicity 
and  mildness  of  Mr.  M.'s  manners,  and  his  smile  has  so 
much  benevolence  in  it,  that  it  cannot  fail  of  inspiring 
good  will  and  esteem.  Genl.  Dearborn,2  we  have  also 
for  our  neighbour,  he  some  times  visits  us  and  his  con- 
versation is  so  intelligent,  and  filled  with  so  many  useful 
observations,  that  he  is  a  most  agreeable  companion. 
These  I  believe  are  all  the  additions  we  have  had  to  our 
society,  since  my  last  letter;  I  was  prevented  calling  on 
the  ladies  at  Mr.  Meredith's3  until  yesterday,  when  I 
found  no  one  at  home.  During  the  last  week  I  was  quite 
a  prisoner  for  the  want  of  a  carriage,  as  we  could  pro- 
cure none;  I  regretted  this  more  on  Brother  John's  ac- 
count than  on  my  own.  He  and  sister  Margaret  left  me 
this  morning,  after  a  visit  of  2  days.  Mr.  Meyers,  tho' 
lodging  at  a  tavern,  has  passed  all  his  time  with  us. 
He  takes  a  book  and  goes  out  among  the  trees,  where  he 
sits  most  of  the  day.  On  Saturday  last  we  dined  at  the 
President's.  The  company  was  small,  and  on  that  ac- 
count the  more  agreeable ;  he  has  company  every  day,  and 
seldom  more  than  twelve  at  table.  I  happen'd  to  be 
seated  next  to  him  and  had  the  pleasure  of  his  conversa- 
tion on  several  subjects. 

Your  Brother  waits  for  this,  I  must  therefore  abruptly 
bid  you  good-night. 

1  Maria  Nicholson,  Mrs.  Gallatin's  sister. 
1  Henry  Dearborn,  Secretary  of  War. 
8  Samuel  Meredith,  Treasurer. 


x8oi]  DINNER   AT   JEFFERSON'S  29 


TO   MISS   MARIA    BAYARD1 

May  28,  Thursday,  1801. 
.  .  .  .  Since  I  last  wrote  I  have  formed  quite  a 
social  acquaintance  with  Mrs.  Madison  and  her  sister;2 
indeed  it  is  impossible  for  an  acquaintance  with  them  to 
be  different.  Mr.  Smith  and  I  dined  at  the  President's, — 
he  has  company  every  day,  but  his  table  is  seldom  laid 
for  more  than  twelve.  This  prevents  all  form  and  makes 
the  conversation  general  and  unreserved.  I  happened 
to  sit  next  to  Mr.  Jefferson  and  was  confirmed  in  my 
prepossessions  in  his  favour,  by  his  easy,  candid  and  gen- 
tle manners.  Before  and  after  dinner  Mrs.  Cranch3  and 
myself  sat  in  the  drawing-room  with  Mrs.  M.  and  her 
sister,  whose  social  dispositions  soon  made  us  well  ac- 
quainted with  each  other.  About  six  o'clock  the  gentle- 
men joined  us,  but  Mr.  Jefferson's  and  Madison's 
manners  were  so  easy  and  familiar  that  they  produced 
no  restraint.  Never  were  there  a  plainer  set  of  men,  and 
I  think  I  may  add  a  more  virtuous  and  enlightened  one, 
than  at  present  forms  our  administration.  Genl.  Dear- 
born and  Gallatin  being  in  our  neighbourhood,  visit  us 
as  neighbours.  Mrs.  Carrol,  the  neighbour  I  last  men- 
tioned, has  grown  quite  attentive,  within  the  last  week, 
she  has  spent  an  afternoon  and  morning  with  me,  and 
has  at  several  times  sent  me  salad  and  asparagus,  and 
what  I  still  more  highly  value,  large  bunches  of  fine  roses 
and  magnolias. 

x  Mrs.  Smith's  younger  sister. 

2  Anna  Payne,  who  married  Richard  D.  Cutts  in  1804. 

3  Wife  of  Judge  William  Cranch,  then  Junior  Assistant  Judge  of  the 
Circuit  Court  of  the  District  of  Columbia. 


3o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [July 

TO  MISS  MARY  ANN  SMITH1 

Washington  City,  July  5,  1801. 

My  Dear  Sister. 

Mr.  Craven,  a  neighbour  and  acquaintance  of  ours, 
departing  for  Phila.  to-morrow,  I  cannot  deny  myself 
the  pleasure  of  passing  a  few  minutes  with  you,  chiefly 
to  draw  a  picture,  which  I  know  will  give  your  patriotic 
heart  delight,  a  picture  of  Mr.  Jefferson  in  which  he  was 
exhibited  to  the  best  advantage.  About  12  o'clock  yes- 
terday, the  citizens  of  Washington  and  Geo.  Town  waited 
upon  the  President  to  make  their  devoirs.  I  accompanied 
Mr.  Sumpter  (?).  We  found  about  20  persons  present 
in  a  room  where  sat  Mr.  J.  surrounded  by  the  five  Chero- 
kee chiefs.  After  a  conversation  of  a  few  minutes,  he 
invited  his  company  into  the  usual  dining  room,  whose 
four  large  sideboards  were  covered  with  refreshments, 
such  as  cakes  of  various  kinds,  wine,  punch,  &c.  Every 
citizen  was  invited  to  partake,  as  his  taste  dictated,  of 
them,  and  the  invitation  was  most  cheerfully  accepted, 
and  the  consequent  duties  discharged  with  alacrity.  The 
company  soon  increased  to  near  a  hundred,  including  all 
the  public  officers  and  most  of  the  respectable  citizens,  and 
strangers  of  distinction.  Martial  music  soon  announced 
the  approach  of  the  marine  corps  of  Capt.  Burrows,  who 
in  due  military  form  saluted  the  President,  accompanied 
by  the  President's  .March  played  by  an  excellent  band  at- 
tached to  the  corps.  After  undergoing  various  military 
evolutions,  the  company  returned  to  the  dining  room,  and 
the  band  from  an  adjacent  room  played  a  succession  of 
fine  patriotic  airs.  All  appeared  to  be  cheerful,  all  happy. 
Mr.  Jefferson  mingled  promiscuously  with  the  citizens, 
1  From  Mr.  Smith  to  his  sister. 


Thomas  Jefferson,   by  Gilbert  Stuart. 

The  property  of  T.  Jefferson  Coolidge. 


i8oi]     FOURTH  OF  JULY  CELEBRATION         31 

and  far  from  designating  any  particular  friends  for  con- 
sultation, conversed  for  a  short  time  with  every  one  that 
came  in  his  way.  It  was  certainly  a  proud  day  for  him, 
the  honours  of  which  he  discharged  with  more  than  his 
usual  care.  At  2  o'clock,  after  passing  2  hours  in  this 
very  agreeable  way,  the  company  separated.  At  4  a 
dinner  was  given  at  McMunn  and  Conrad's,1  where 
all  the  civil  and  military  officers  attended,  and  a  num- 
ber of  citizens,  which,  including  the  former,  amounted 
to  about  50.  Everything  here  was  conducted  with  great 
propriety,  and  it  was  not  unamusing  to  see  Mr.  Gallatin, 
Madison  and  Dearborn  on  one  side  directly  opposite  to 
Mr.  Meredith,  Harrison,  Steele,  &c,  on  the  other.  It 
was  my  good  fortune  to  find  myself  next  to  Mr.  Miller, 
who  was  very  polite  and  conversable.  About  dark  I  left 
the  company  and  joined  a  small  party  at  Mrs.  Law's, 
who  had  assembled  there  to  hear  the  music.  Among 
them  we  met  Mrs.  Clay,  a  charming  little  woman  from 
Richmond.  Thus  you  see  that  we  are  here  at  least  all 
Republicans  and  all  Federalists.  I  hope  the  same  spirit 
has  animated  you.  At  any  rate  I  think  our  example  will 
be  of  some  use  in  recommending  General  Lamory. 

Yours  affectionately, 

S.  H.  S. 

TO    MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  July  21,  1801. 
I  never  write  with  so  much  ease  as  when  I  answer  a 
letter  immediately  after  its  receipt.  We  then  feel  our 
sentiments  of  affection  enlivened,  and  all  we  write  flows 
from  the  heart.  For  3  weeks  or  a  month  past,  the 
weather  has  been  oppressively  warm,   and  has  had   a 

1  Boarding  house  near  the  Capitol. 


32  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1801 

greater  effect  on  my  mind  than  on  my  body.  I  have 
felt  indisposed  to  read  or  write,  or  converse,  but  from 
necessity  I  have  been  very  busy.  At  one  time  I  was 
entirely  without  help,  and  at  all  times  with  such  bad  help 
that  the  comfort  of  the  family  depended  on  my  activity. 
One  woman  I  dismissed  on  account  of  her  excessive  in- 
temperance, and  the  old  woman  I  took  in  her  place  is 
such  a  scold  that  she  is  hated  by  all  the  family;  but  her 
neatness  and  honesty  reconciled  me  to  her,  and  I  was  con- 
gratulating myself  on  her  good  conduct,  when  last  night, 
on  my  return  home,  I  found  her,  too,  in  a  state  of  intoxi- 
cation. But  I  am  not  so  badly  off  as  Mrs.  Gallatin ;  she 
has  still  more  wicked  and  profligate  wretches  about  her. 
I  am  uncommonly  fortunate  in  having  such  a  woman 
as  Mrs.  Smith *  at  my  command.  During  the  time  I  was 
without  a  servant,  there  was  nothing  that  unasked  she 
did  not  do.  I  one  morning  found  her  on  her  knees 
scrubbing  the  parlour.  "  This  is  what  I  would  not  do 
for  any  other  person  living,"  said  she.  "  And  I  do  not 
believe,"  answered  I,  "  you  would  like  to  have  done  it, 
had  I  asked  you."  "  Indeed,  you  are  mistaken,  there  is 
nothing  you  could  ask  which  I  would  not  do."  My  plan 
in  regard  to  her  is,  for  her  to  come  about  October  and 
assist  in  cleaning  house,  and  in  the  necessary  prepara- 
tions for  an  approaching  event.  I  shall  prepare  a  large 
room  for  her,  in  which  she  will  sleep  and  sit,  and  in 
which  the  two  boys  will  eat  and  sit  of  an  evening.  They 
are  now  so  rude  and  troublesome  at  their  meals,  and  in 
their  manners,  that  I  promise  myself  they  will  be  much 
benefited  by  being  with  her.  She  is  to  make  and  mend 
their  clothes.  She  can  make  all  Mr.  S.'s  except  his  coats, 
and  is  likewise  a  good  mantua-maker  and  seamstress. 
She  is  to  iron  and  clear  starch,  and  when  I  am  prevented 
1  Her  housekeeper  for  some  years. 


i8o2]  FITS    OF   AGUE  33 

by  other  duties  from  discharging  the  delightful  cares  of 
a  nurse,  she  is  to  take  my  place.  In  general,  I  shall 
always  choose  to  be  nurse  and  house-keeper  myself,  and 
to  let  her  do  the  sewing  of  the  family;  for  even  if 
she  did  not  sew  as  well  as  I  did,  yet  I  have  always  been 
of  opinion  that  mistakes  or  negligence  in  this  department 
of  household  business  was  less  disadvantageous  to  domes- 
tic order  and  comfort,  than  in  either  the  care  of  children, 
or  in  economical  arrangements.  We  are  so  much  the 
creatures  of  habit,  that  if  possible  I  shall  always,  if 
Providence  blesses  me  with  children,  devote  my  time 
chiefly  to  them,  and  as  far  as  I  can  consistently  with  the 
comfort  of  those  around  me,  have  them  constantly  in  my 
presence. 


TO    MISS    SUSAN    BAYARD  SMITH 

December  26,  1802. 
.  .  .  .  Since  my  last  letter  to  you,  I  have  unex- 
pectedly been  in  a  good  deal  of  company  and  have  seen 
much  more  than  I  designed.  We  have  dined  twice  at 
the  President's,  three  times  at  Mr.  Pichons,  and  they 
have  dined  twice  here,  four  times  at  Mrs.  Tingeys  and 
once  at  Genl.  Mason's  (the  Island  Mason).  I  have 
drank  tea  out  three  or  four  times  and  declined  several 
invitations  to  balls.  I  have  often  gone  out  with  the 
ague,  sometimes  with  fever  on  me,  so  much  has  habit 
done  in  reconciling  me  to  this  enemy.  I  know  that  noth- 
ing will  keep  off  the  fit,  and  may  as  well  have  it  in  one 
place  as  another.  I  very  seldom  now  go  to  bed,  but  sit 
up,  or  lie  down  on  the  sopha,  have  a  bowl  of  tea  and  a 
basin  by  me,  and  then  give  no  one  further  trouble,  but 
take  my  fit  with  the  greatest  sang  froid. 


34  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1802 

Madm.  Pichon1  and  myself  are  now  on  the  most  inti- 
mate footing,  every  interview  seems  to  have  endeared  us 
to  each  other  and  I  believe  we  mutually  feel  the  affection 
and  confidence  of  old  friends.  The  similarity  of  our 
present  situation,  even  as  to  the  time,  calls  forth  the  same 
hopes,  the  same  anxieties.  We  have  sat  whole  days 
together  and  talked  of  nothing  but  the  care  of  infants 
and  the  education  of  children.  She  often  comes  and  sits 
the  morning  with  me,  and  when  we  go  there  she  sends 
the  carriage  for  us  and  sends  us  home  again.  Last  Sun- 
day, this  day  week,  they  dined  here.  Madm.  P.  came 
between  eleven  and  twelve  and  they  staid  till  9  in  the 
evening. — I  ought  to  tell  you  a  great  deal  about  Mrs. 
Randolph  and  Mrs.  Eppes,2  who  have  both  been  with 
their  father  for  this  month  past.  Mrs.  Eppes  is  beauti- 
ful, simplicity  and  timidity  personified  when  in  company, 
but  when  alone  with  you  of  communicative  and  winning 
manners.  Mrs.  R.  is  rather  homely,  a  delicate  likeness 
of  her  father,  but  still  more  interesting  than  Mrs.  E. 
She  is  really  one  of  the  most  lovely  women  I  have  ever 
met  with,  her  countenance  beaming  with  intelligence, 
benevolence  and  sensibility,  and  her  conversation  fulfils 
all  her  countenance  promises.  Her  manners,  so  frank 
and  affectionate,  that  you  know  her  at  once,  and  feel 
perfectly  at  your  ease  with  her.  I  have  called  twice  of  a 
morning  on  them,  they  have  been  here  three  mornings 
and  they  have  promised  to  come  and  sit  part  of  a  morn- 
ing with  me,  as  I  told  them  this  was  my  only  chance  of 
seeing  them,  as  I  did  not  give  entertainments  of  which 
they  assured  me  they  were  heartily  tired.    I  dined  at  the 

1  Wife  of  Louis  Andre*  Pichon,  French  Charge*  d' Affaires  at  Washington 
from  1 80 1  to  1805. 

3  Jefferson's  daughter,  Martha,  married  Thomas  Mann  Randolph;  another, 
Maria,  married  John  Wayles  Eppes.  Both  sons-in-law  were  able  men  and 
represented  Virginia  in  Congress. 


i8o3]  JEFFERSON'S    DAUGHTERS  35 

P.'s  since  they  have  been  there  and  really  passed  a  most 
delightful  day.  Before  dinner  he  conversed  with  me, 
and  after  dinner  for  two  hours  I  had  an  interesting  con- 
versation with  Mrs.  R.  She  gave  me  an  account  of  all 
her  children,  of  the  character  of  her  husband  and  many 
family  anecdotes.  She  has  that  rare  but  charming  ego- 
tism which  can  interest  the  listener  in  all  one's  concerns. 
I  could  have  listened  to  her  for  two  hours  longer,  but 
coffee  and  the  gentlemen  entered  and  we  were  inter- 
rupted. But  I  became  almost  as  agreeably  engaged  with 
the  lovely  Ellen,  her  daughter,  without  exception  one  of 
the  finest  and  most  intelligent  children  I  have  ever  met 
with.  She  is  singularly  and  extravagantly  fond  of 
poetry ;  I  repeated  to  her  Goldsmith's  Hermit,  which  she 
listened  to  with  the  most  expressive  countenance,  her 
eyes  fixed  on  mine  and  her  arms  clasped  close  around  me. 
We  became  mutually  attached  to  each  other  and  I  begged 
Mrs.  R.  to  let  her  spend  a  day  with  me.  Her  Mama 
brought  her  the  other  morning  and  sent  for  her  about 
seven  in  the  evening.  She  really  was  most  charming 
society  for  me.     .     .     . 


FROM  SAMUEL  HARRISON  SMITH1 

Washington,  April  26,  1803.  Saturday  Evening. 
Have  just  returned,  my  dearest  Margaret,  from  a 
dining  party  at  Genl.  Dearborn's,  where  I  met  with  Mrs. 
Madison  and  Mrs.  Duval  who,  together  with  the  ladies 
of  the  house,  enquired  in  a  very  friendly  manner  respect- 
ing you  and  Julia.  I  have  rarely  spent  more  agreeable 
hours  at  a  dinner  table.    Air.  Granger,2  who  was  present 

1  Mrs.  Smith  was  on  a  brief  visit  to  her  relatives  at  Brunswick. 

2  Gideon  Granger,  of  Connecticut,  Postmaster  General  for  thirteen  years, 
and  an  active  politician  all  his  life. 


36  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Apr. 

and  who  is  a  very  agreeable  man,  after  a  few  bottles  of 
champagne  were  emptied,  on  the  observation  of  Mr. 
Madison  that  it  was  the  most  delightful  wine  when  drank 
in  moderation,  but  that  more  than  a  few  glasses  always 
produced  a  headache  the  next  day,  remarked  with  point 
that  this  was  the  very  time  to  try  the  experiment,  as  the 
next  day  being  Sunday  would  allow  time  for  a  recovery 
from  its  effects.  The  point  was  not  lost  upon  the  host 
and  bottle  after  bottle  came  in,  without  however  I  assure 
you  the  least  invasion  of  sobriety.  Its  only  effects  were 
animated  good  humour  and  uninterrupted  conversation. 

Yesterday  a  most  furious  storm,  attended  with  rain, 
arose,  and  the  temperature  of  the  air  from  summer 
heat,  the  mercury  was  at  83,  was  exchanged  for  that 
of  a  piercing  cold.  You  know  how  the  rain  beats  and  the 
wind  roars  here.  Recollecting  the  enthusiasm  you  feel 
in  such  scenes  I  could  not  help  wishing  for  your  presence, 
and  when  the  awful  rolling  of  thunder  enhanced  the 
sublimity  of  the  scene,  that  wish  was  increased.  The 
same  storm  however  may  have  extended  to  Brunswick, 
and  while  I  was  indulging  these  feelings,  you  may  have 
been  thinking  of  me.  Thus  it  is,  my  dearest  friend,  that 
affection  associates  with  those  recollections  it  most  de- 
lights to  cherish,  every  extraordinary  incident.  The  pain- 
ful idea  of  separation  and  distance  is  overcome  by  the 
illusion  produced  by  a  community  of  thought  with  the 
beloved  object.  It  is  thus  that  I  often  enjoy  the  purest 
and  the  most  complete  satisfaction,  that  I  inspire  you  to 
be  present,  and  thus  congratulate  myself  on  my  delusion. 


i8o3J  POLITICAL    APPOINTMENTS  37 


TO  MR.   SAMUEL  H.   SMITH 

[Brunswick]  Tuesday,  May  17,  1803. 

.  .  .  .  I  trust  your  interposition  with  Mr.  Grain- 
ger will  prove  equally  effectual,  or  rather  I  am  in  hopes 
that  Col.  Morgan's 1  assertion  is  not  true.  I  have  seldom 
known  anything  provoke  such  indignation  as  the  threat- 
ened removal  of  the  postmaster  here.  He  is  so  good, 
orderly  and  respectable  a  citizen,  has  performed  the  duties 
of  his  office  so  punctually,  is  so  obliging  to  the  citizens 
and  so  exact  in  his  accounts,  at  the  same  time  he  is  so 
inoffensive  in  his  manner  and  so  moderate  in  his  political 
opinions,  that  it  is  impossible  to  believe  he  is  discharged 
for  any  fault  of  his,  but  only  to  provide  for  another  man ; 
that  man  is  a  stranger  in  Brunswick,  is  idle,  contemptible 
and  intemperate,  he  has  been  for  a  long  time  dependent 
on  Col.  Morgan,  and  has  been  a  cause  of  much  domestic 
disquiet  to  his  wife  and  family.  I  have  all  the  feelings  of 
a  republican  about  me  and  dread  anything  unjust  and 
offensive  being  done  by  a  party  I  feel  so  much  attached 
to.  The  appointments  already  made  in  this  place  have 
been  very  unfortunate,  and  I  am  sure  if  Mr.  J.  had  not 
been  greatly  deceived  they  never  would  have  been  made. 
It  is  supposed  that  Mr.  Grainger  is  now  putting  in  as 
many  of  his  own  party  as  he  can,  in  order  to  influence  the 
elections;  if  he  makes  many  changes  without  sufficient 
reasons,  will  not  he  give  too  much  ground  for  such  a 
suspicion?  I  cannot  help  feeling  a  deep  interest  in  a 
cause  which  you  have  embraced,  and  nothing  but  this 
attachment  would  have  induced  me  to  say  a  word  about 

1  Probably  Col.  James  Morgan,  an  officer  of  the  Revolution  and  a  promi- 
nent Federalist.  Jefferson's  administration  was  on  the  spoils  system.  He 
removed  nearly  all  the  Federalists  from  office  and  appointed  none  but 
Republicans. 


38  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [July 

such  matters  in  my  letters  to  you.  Tell  me,  I  beg  of  you, 
in  your  next  letter,  how  my  amiable  friend,  Madm. 
Pichon,  is.     .     .     . 


FROM  SAMUEL  HARRISON  SMITH1 

July  5,  1803,  Washington. 

.  .  .  .  By  the  by,  what  do  you  think  of  my  going 
to  such  an  extent  as  to  win  2  Doll,  at  Loo  the  first  time 
I  ever  played  the  game,  and  being  the  most  successful  at 
the  table?  I  confess  I  felt  some  mortification  at  putting 
the  money  of  Mrs.  Madison  and  Mrs.  Duval  into  my 
pocket.2 

Yesterday  was  a  day  of  joy  to  our  citizens  and  of 
pride  to  our  President.  It  is  a  day  which  you  know  he 
always  enjoys.  How  much  more  must  he  have  enjoyed 
it  on  this  occasion  from  the  great  event  that  occasioned 
it.  The  news  of  the  cession  of  Louisiana  only  arrived 
about  8  o'clock  of  the  night  preceding,  just  in  time  to  be 
officially  announced  on  this  auspicious  day.  Next  to  the 
liberty  of  his  country,  peace  is  certainly  the  dearest  to  his 
heart.  How  glad  then  must  that  heart  be  which  with  lov- 
ing participancy  in  obtaining  and  securing  the  one,  has 
placed  the  other  on  an  impregnable  basis.  This  mighty 
event  forms  an  era  in  our  history,  and  of  itself  must  ren- 
der the  administration  of  Jefferson  immortal.  At  an  early 
hour  the  city  was  alive, — a  discharge  of  18  guns  salutej 
the  dawn,  the  military  assembled  exhibiting  a  martial 
appearance,  at  11  o'clock  an  oration  was  deld.  by  Capt. 
Sprig  (?)    (well  written  but  poorly  pronounced),  at  12 

1  Mrs.  Smith  was  in  New  York,  visiting  the  family  of  Rev.  Dr.  John 
Rodgers,  whose  daughter  her  eldest  brother  had  married. 

2  It  will  be  discomforting  to  fashionable  ladies  of  the  present  day  who 
play  "bridge"  for  money  to  know  that  Mrs.  Madison  subsequently  gave  up 
playing  cards  for  stakes  and  was  sorry  she  had  ever  indulged  in  the  practice. 


i8o3]     FOURTH  OF  JULY  CELEBRATION         39 

company  began  to  assemble  at  the  President's;  it  was 
more  numerous  than  I  have  before  marked  it,  enlivened 
too  by  the  presence  of  between  40  and  50  ladies  clothed 
in  their  best  attire,  cakes,  punch,  wine  &c  in  profusion. 
After  partaking  of  these  mingled  pleasures  the  company 
separated  about  2,  and  at  3,  the  greater  part  assembled  at 
Stille's  to  the  number  of  near  100.  Before  dinner  I  had 
the  honor  of  reading  the  declaration  of  independence; 
pleased  as  I  was  with  the  distinction  I  confess  I  was  not 
sorry  when  it  was  over,  not  having  been  perfectly  well  for 
a  few  days  I  was  not  without  some  apprehension  of  being 
unable  to  perform  the  duty  with  decency,  and  tho'  I  did 
not  have  the  ambition  to  be  eloquent,  yet  I  felt  anxious  to 
escape  the  implication  of  inability.  As  it  happened,  how- 
ever, the  reading  went  off  very  well,  and  I  was  compli- 
mented for  the  precision  and  spirit  with  which  it  was  deld. 
and  I  was  pleased  with  learning  that  not  a  word  was 
missed  in  the  utmost  parts  of  the  room.  Margaret,  there 
is  no  person  on  earth  but  yourself  to  whom  I  cd.  speak  so 
frankly.  Receive  this  very  openness  as  a  coincidence  of 
my  unbounded  confidence,  confidence  which  nothing  but 
love  and  esteem  strong  as  my  heart  entertains  for  its  best 
heaven,  could  inspire.  At  dinner  our  toasts  were  politics, 
our  songs  convivial.  At  nine  I  left  the  company,  part  of 
which  remained,  I  believe,  till  day  light.  Mr.  Granger 
spoke  to  me  of  having  seen  you,  without  knowing  you  as 
Mrs.  S.  tho'  he  was  sure  he  had  before  seen  you.  I  often 
dwell  pn  the  happiness  I  shall  derive  from  Julia  on  your 
return,  the  novelty  of  which  will  render  it  irresistibly  cap- 
tivating. A  few  months  must  have  given  her  a  new  exis- 
tence, and  widened  the  budding  powers  of  her  heart  and 
mind  a  thousand  times  more  interesting.  When  we  do 
meet  again,  my  dearest  wife,  we  shall  indeed  be  happy. 

Farewell. 


4o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [July 


TO  SAML.  HARRISON  SMITH 

Friday,  July  8,  [1803]  New  York.1 

Perhaps  this  letter  may  reach  you,  if  it  does  it  will 
assure  you  of  my  participation  in  your  satisfaction  on  the 
interesting  event  which  has  occurred.  Your  letter  this 
morning  induces  me  to  believe  that  the  whole  of  Louisiana 
is  ceded,  whereas  my  federal  friends  here  will  have  it, 
that  only  the  Island  of  New  Orleans  is  given  up.  I  have 
been  sending  about  for  the  National  Intelligencer,  but 
could  not  find  it.  I  long  to  see  your  enunciation  of  this 
matter  and  to  ascertain  what  is  true.  Every  one  seems 
to  rely  on  what  you  assert  as  the  truth ;  but  charge  you 
with  being  silent  on  Mr.  Livingston's  merit  in  this  affair, 
and  your  wishing  to  give  the  glory  to  Mr.  Munroe,  while 
on  the  contrary  it  is  believed  here  that  the  latter  had 
nothing  to  do  with  it.2  Even  Mr.  Jefferson  is  supposed 
to  have  had  little  or  no  agency  and  this  act  on  the  part 
of  the  French  is  supposed  to  result  from  their  war  with 
Britain.  It  is  said  that  when  Mr.  King  expressed  his 
uneasiness  at  the  conduct  of  the  Spanish  intendant,  the 
english  ministry  assured  him  he  need  be  in  no  ways 
anxious,  because  war  would  soon  take  place,  in  which 
case  the  British  would  immediately  take  possession  of 
Lous'na,  and  as  they  would  be  our  neighbours  and  friends, 
we  need  have  no  apprehensions  about  the  French.  On 
this  information,  Mr.  King  wrote  the  same  to  Livingston 
who  urged  this  to  the  French  administration,  as  a  motive 
for  giving  up  that  territory  to  us,  thereby  preventing  their 
enemy  from  gaining  such  a  valuable  territory  and  such 

1  Mrs.  Smith  was  visiting  her  sister,  Mrs.  Samuel  Boyd. 

2  Monroe  had  nothing  to  do  with  it.     The  negotiations  were  entirely 
completed  before  he  arrived  in  France. 


Samuel  Harrison  Smith,   founder  of  The   National  Intelligencer. 

After  the  portrait  by  Charles  Bird  King. 


i8o3]  CESSION    OF    LOUISIANA  41 

an  accession  of  strength;  this  proved  effectual  and  the 
whole  transaction  was  settled  before  Munroe  arrived. 
The  first  news  of  this  event  gave  me  great  joy,  as  I 
had  heard  Mr.  J's.  conduct  in  preferring  negotiation  to 
invasion,  brought  as  a  new  proof  of  timidity  and  when  I 
had  ventured  to  say  it  arose  from  love  of  peace,  they 
quite  laughed  me  to  scorn,  and  said  it  was  cowardice 
alone.  I  did  not  know  the  interest  I  felt  in  political  con- 
cerns, until  lately,  and  this  event  has  given  me  such  real 
satisfaction  that  were  you  to  hear  me,  you  would  not 
again  tax  me  with  indifference.  I  have  reserved  all  my 
political;  thoughts  and  observations  for  conversation. 
Your  letter  was  quite  interesting.  I  thought  of  you  all 
day  on  the  fourth  of  July  and  wished  most  heartily  to  be 
with  you  at  the  Presidents.  I  believe  I  feel  more  highly 
gratified  by  any  mark  of  respect  shown  to  you,  than  you 
can  yourself.  I  felt  very  anxious  to  hear  how  you  de- 
livered the  piece  you  speak  of,  and  thought  I  should  have 
trembled  with  anxiety  had  I  been  near  you.  Dear  hus- 
band it  is  your  modesty  only,  that  could  induce  you  to 
think  it  such  a  mark  of  confidence,  to  tell  me  that  you 
were  approved  of.  But  let  the  motive  be  what  it  will,  I 
entreat  you  ever  to  repose  this  kind  of  confidence  in  your 
wife,  who  feels  far  more  gratified  by  every  testimony  of 
regard  towards  you,  than  those  paid  to  herself.  Never 
then,  my  best  friend,  conceal  from  me,  what  will  give 
me  more  pleasure  than  anything  else.  Tomorrow  week, 
I  expect  dearest  husband  to  be  again  in  your  arms !  Yes 
indeed  we  shall  be  happy.  I  pray  you  let  nothing  inter- 
fere to  disappoint  us.  I  feel  a  kind  of  dread  about  me, 
and  your  mentioning  that  you  were  not  very  well,  makes 
me  fear  that  illness  may  detain  you.  I  yesterday  pur- 
chased a  certain  cure  for  the  ague  for  you.  I  shall  come 
home  with  two  or  three  infallable  medicines  and  hope  if  I 


42  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1803 

am  with  you,  to  prevent  your  suffering  from  this  depress- 
ing disease.  I  did  not  half  like  the  idea  of  your  [illegi- 
ble] but  I  will  scold  you  when  I  see  you,  and  my  chiding 
will  not  be  very  severe.  I  have  for  more  than  a  week 
past  sung  Julia  to  sleep  with  these  words,  "Papa  is  com- 
ing to  bring  Julia  some  cakes."     .... 


TO  MISS  MARY  ANN  SMITH 

Washington,  Monday  night.  [1803.] 
Here  I  am  my  dear  sisters,  once  more  safely  and  hap- 
pily seated  at  home.  I  have  no  time  to  write  tomorrow, 
so  that  this  letter  must  serve  for  my  Philadelphia  and  my 
Brunswick  Julia  and  sisters.  I  was  so  completely  fa- 
tigued this  morning  that  I  could  not  write,  and  now  steal 
an  hour  that  should  be  devoted  to  repose.  Tomorrow  I 
shall  be  wholy  engaged  in  making  provision  for  my  coun- 
try residence,  to  which  I  shall  repair  on  Wednesday 
morning.  Our  ride  from  Phila.  to  Lancaster  was  horri- 
bly fatiguing,  I  never  experienced  anything  like  it,  and  if 
crying  could  have  done  any  good,  I  should  have  followed 
Julia's  example  and  have  cried  all  the  way.  At  Lancaster 
we  had  a  miserable  dinner  which  altho'  hungry  we  could 
scarcely  eat ;  it  was  the  same  case  at  supper ;  we  supped  at 
the  Susquehanah.  Julia  slept  profoundly,  and  we  nearly 
as  well ;  rose  at  three  next  morning,  travelled  all  day  over 
good  roads  thro'  a  beautiful  country,  Julia  playful  and 
good,  excellent  provision,  a  ravenous  appetite,  and  fine 
spirits.  At  6  we  arrived  at  Frederick  town,  but  little 
tired,  after  riding  75  miles.  At  supper  we  met  several 
very  agreeable  people,  among  the  rest  Mr.  Randolph1 
(of  Congress)  Mr.  Taylor,  an  acquaintance  of  your 
1  John  Randolph,  of  Roanoke. 


i8o3]  RETURN    TO    WASHINGTON  43 

Brothers,   a  man  of  some  talent,  polite  manners,   but 
desultory  habits  of  life. 

Mr.  Randolph  conversed  most  agreeably  until  10 
o'clock,  when  I  withdrew  from  his  agreeable  society  and 
soon  lost  ourselves  in  sweet  and  refreshing  slumbers. 
After  breakfast  next  morning  we  had  a  call  from  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Beckly,  who  are  on  their  way  to  Bath.  At  nine 
we  left  F.  in  a  private  carriage  in  which  Mr.  B.  had  come 
the  day  before.  Mr.  Taylor  who  resides  in  this  place, 
came  with  us.  He  was  a  most  entertaining  companion, 
a  perfect  poetical  miscellany;  there  was  no  subject  on 
which  he  could  not  quote  fine  lines  of  poetry.  Homer, 
Virgil,  Tasso,  Ariosto,  Milton,  Goldsmith,  Pope,  Waller, 
and  twenty  others,  contributed  to  our  entertainment. 
The  sun  was  shaded  with  clouds,  the  breeze  cool  and 
refreshing.  The  scenery  romantic  and  wild  beyond  any 
we  had  seen.  We  arrived  at  Montgomery  court  house 
at  three  o'clock,  when  it  began  to  rain,  and  continued  to 
rain  until  evening.  This  did  not  much  impede  our  jour- 
ney and  we  arrived  safely  at  home  at  10  oclock.  Mrs. 
Smith  was  a  bed,  but  Milly  was  looking  out  of  the  win- 
dow. On  perceiving  us,  she  screamed  out  ''There's  Mis- 
tress; there's  Mistress,"  and  flew  half  wild  with  joy  to 
receive  us;  she  danced,  capered  and  followd  in  most  ex- 
travagant manner;  Mrs.  Smith  soon  run  down  and  dem- 
onstrated much  more  joy  than  I  imagined  she  could  feel. 
We  got  tea,  with  which  Julia  was  delighted.  You  never 
saw  a  little  creature  so  frolicsome  as  she  has  been  ever 
since  we  left  Lancaster.  She  slept  almost  half  the  time, 
laughd  and  danced  the  other  half.  All  this  day  I  have 
been  resting.  I  found  the  house  in  perfect  order,  the 
parlour  set  off  with  oak  boughs,  curtains  white  as  snow ; 
and  all  neat  as  wax  work.  At  five  this  afternoon  we  got 
a  hack,  and  visited  our  retreat.     I  shall  not  pretend  now 


44  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

to  describe  it.  All  I  will  say  is  that  I  am  delighted  with 
it.  A  good  house  on  the  top  of  a  high  hill,  with  high 
hills  all  around  it,  embower'd  in  woods,  thro'  an  opening 
of  which  the  Potomack,  its  shores  and  Mason's  Island 
are  distinctly  seen.  I  have  never  been  more  charmingly 
surprised  than  on  seeing  this  retreat,  but  enough  of  it  by 
and  by.  We  go  there  on  Wednesday.  On  my  way 
home  I  called  on  Madam  Pechon.  On  seeing  her,  I  be- 
lieve, I  have  seen  one  of  the  happiest  of  human  beings. 
She  had  her  little  son  in  her  arms,  which  however  did  not 
impede  her  hastening  to  embrace  me.  I  was  affected  to 
tears.  I  folded  her  to  my  bosom,  with  sensations  of 
almost  equal  pleasure  with  which  I  embraced  my  dearest 
sisters.  She  is  perfectly  well,  so  is  her  son,  so  is  her 
spouse.  My  friend  expressed  what  I  must  believe  to  be 
true  pleasure  on  seeing  me.  I  have  already  promised  to 
be  almost  a  daily  visitor.  But  I  must  stop.  When  I  get 
among  my  little  mountains  and  towering  woods,  I  shall 
write  you  wonderful  letters.  My  kindest  love  to  Papa 
and  all  my  other  excellent  friends. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Monday,  January  23,  1804. 
.  .  .  .  My  family  affairs  go  on  pretty  well ;  I  have 
an  old  woman  in  the  kitchen  as  a  drudge,  for  she  cannot 
cook ;  I  have  a  miserably  idle  dirty  girl  as  a  waiter,  whom 
I  shall  get  rid  of  as  soon  as  possible.  Milly  is  my  stand 
bye,  she  cleans  the  house,  makes  beds,  irons,  clear 
starches,  and  attends  Julia  while  I  am  in  the  kitchen, 
which  is  two  or  three  hours  every  day,  as  I  cook  every 
dinner  that  is  eat  by  the  family  and  have  even  to  assist 
in  dishing  up  dinner.     I  have  had  a  fine  little  girl  of  5 


i8o4J       BALLS    AND    DINNER    PARTIES  45 

yrs  old  bound  to  me  by  Dr.  Willis.  While  I  work,  she 
plays  with  Julia  and  keeps  her  quiet,  she  is  gay,  good 
temper'd  and  well  behaved,  Julia  is  extremely  fond  of 
her,  and  she  of  Julia ;  and  I  hope  to  have  some  comfort  in 
her.  Since  Mrs.  S.  left  me  I  have  totally  neglected 
musick,  reading  and  writing,  and  altho'  I  sew  all  the 
morning  and  evening,  yet  the  interruptions  from  com- 
pany, from  family  calls,  from  Julia  &c  are  so  frequent, 
that  I  found  my  work  go  behind  hand,  and  Mr.  Smith 
who  is  always  urging  me  to  resume  my  old  employments, 
has  induced  me  to  get  a  woman  to  work  whenever  it  was 
necessary.  I  had  to  get  over  my  pique  to  Mrs.  Jones  and 
she  is  now  working  for  me.  I  give  her  12s.  6d.  pr  week 
and  shall  get  her  to  do  all  my  large  work  in  the  course 
of  a  week  or  two  and  shall  then  have  leisure  for  my  little 
things.  It  is  so  entirely  the  custom  to  visit  of  a  morning 
here,  that  if  we  keep  up  any  intercourse  with  society,  our 
mornings  are  most  of  them  sacrificed.  Of  an  evening 
some  one  or  more  of  the  gentlemen  of  congress  are  al- 
ways here.  This,  my  dear  sister,  is  an  unprofitable  way 
of  life;  but  there  is  no  alternative  in  this  place,  between 
gay  company  and  parties  and  perfect  solitude.  Since  my 
last  letters,  we  have  been  at  a  large  and  splendid  ball  at 
Mr.  Robt.  Smith's,1  a  dining  party  at  Md'm  Pichon's,  a 
card  party  at  Mrs.  Gallatins,  at  Mr.  Beckley's,2  and  at  Mr. 
Van  Ness's3  and  at  the  city  assembly.  Mrs.  R.  Smith's 
was  by  far  the  most  agreeable.     Mrs.  Merry4  was  there 

1  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  a  man  of  wealth  and  fashion. 

2  John  Beckley,  of  Virginia,  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  an 
active  political  agent  for  the  Southern  Republicans. 

3  John  Peter  Van  Ness,  of  Kinderhook,  N.  Y.,  member  of  Congress  in 
1 80 1,  lost  his  seat  in  1803  bv  accepting  the  post  of  Major  in  the  Militia  of 
the  District  of  Columbia.  He  married  Marcia  Burns  in  1802,  and  from  her 
acquired  a  large  fortune.  Latrobe  built  him  a  splendid  house  and  he  and 
his  beautiful  wife  entertained  lavishly  for  many  years. 

4  Wife  of  Anthony  Merry,  British  Minister.  She  made  an  international 
question  of  her  right  to  go  in  to  dinner  at  the  White  House  on  the  President's 
arm. 


46  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1804 

and  her  dress  attracted  great  attention;  it  was  brilliant 
and  fantastic,  white  satin  with  a  long  train,  dark  blue 
crape  of  the  same  length  over  it  and  white  crape  drapery 
down  to  her  knees  and  open  at  one  side,  so  thickly  cover'd 
with  silver  spangles  that  it  appear'd  to  be  a  brilliant  silver 
tissue ;  a  breadth  of  blue  crape,  about  four  yards  long,  and 
in  other  words  a  long  shawl,  put  over  her  head,  instead 
of  over  her  shoulders  and  hanging  down  to  the  floor,  her 
hair  bound  tight  to  her  head  with  a  band  like  her  drapery, 
with  a  diamond  crescent  before  and  a  diamond  comb  be- 
hind, diamond  ear-rings  and  necklace,  displayed  on  a  bare 
bosom.  She  is  a  large,  tall  well-made  woman,  rather 
masculine,  very  free  and  affable  in  her  manners,  but  easy 
without  being  graceful.  She  is  said  to  be  a  woman  of 
fine  understanding  and  she  is  so  entirely  the  talker  and 
actor  in  all  companies,  that  her  good  husband  passes  quite 
unnoticed ;  he  is  plain  in  his  appearance  and  called  rather 
inferior  in  understanding.  I  am  half  tempted  to  enter 
into  details  of  our  city  affairs  and  personages,  but  really 
I  shall  have  to  be  so  scandalous,  that  I  am  affraid  of 
amusing  you  at  such  a  risk.  But  certainly  there  is  no 
place  in  the  United  States  where  one  hears  and  sees  so 
many  strange  things,  or  where  so  many  odd  characters 

are  to  be  met  with.     But  of  Mad'm 1 1  think  it  no 

harm  to  speak  the  truth.  She  has  made  a  great  noise 
here,  and  mobs  of  boys  have  crowded  round  her  splendid 
equipage  to  see  what  I  hope  will  not  often  be  seen  in  this 
country,  an  almost  naked  woman.  An  elegant  and  select 
party  was  given  to  her  by  Mrs.  Robt.  Smith ;  her  appear- 
ance was  such  that  it  threw  all  the  company  into  confusion, 
and  no  one  dar'd  to  look  at  her  but  by  stealth ;  the  win- 
dow shutters  being  left  open,  a  crowd  assembled  round 
the  windows  to  get  a  look  at  this  beautiful  little  creature, 
1  A  well-known  American  woman,  the  wife  of  a  foreigner. 


i8o5]  SCANDALOUS    DRESSING  47 

for  every  one  allows  she  is  extremely  beautiful.  Her 
dress  was  the  thinnest  sarcenet  and  white  crepe  without 
the  least  stiffening  in  it,  made  without  a  single  plait  in  the 
skirt,  the  width  at  the  bottom  being  made  of  gores ;  there 
was  scarcely  any  waist  to  it  and  no  sleeves ;  her  back,  her 
bosom,  part  of  her  waist  and  her  arms  were  uncover'd 
and  the  rest  of  her  form  visible.  She  was  engaged  the 
next  evening  at  Madm  P's,  Mrs.  R.  Smith  and  several 
other  ladies  sent  her  word,  if  she  wished  to  meet  them 
there,  she  must  promise  to  have  more  clothes  on.  I  was 
highly  pleased  with  this  becoming  spirit  in  our  ladies. 
Mrs.  Moreton,  of  whom  you  have  heard  me  speak,  re- 
ceived the  visit  of  and  his  lady  in  bed.     No  one 

however  follow'd  the  fashion  they  wished  to  set.  I 
could  write  many  more  such  anecdotes,  but  this  is  enough 
for  one  letter. 

FROM  THOMAS  JEFFERSON 

Th:  Jefferson  presents  his  respectful  compliments  to 
Mrs.  Smith,  and  being  charged  with  those  of  a  distant 
friend  of  hers,  he  cannot  give  better  evidence  of  them 
than  her  own  letter,  which  he  incloses  with  his  salutations. 

July  10,  05. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  December  6th,  1805  Thursday. 
.  .  .  .  Friday  morning.  Maria  is  seated  at  her 
writing  table  in  my  room,  and  I  have  the  stand  placed 
beside  the  fire  in  the  parlour  and  the  children  playing 
round  me.  I  shall  accustom  myself  to  write  and  read 
with  them  in  the  room  and  I  shall  soon  find  it  easy,  tho' 
at  present,  it  somewhat  disturbs  me     I  tell  Maria  she  may 


48  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1805. 

remain  at  her  writing  table  until  12,  the  rest  of  the  day  we 
will  pass  together.  Mrs.  Potts  does  extremely  well  at 
present,  my  man  John  is  neither  one  of  the  best  nor  one 
of  the  worst  of  waiters,  and  is  so  good  natured  there  is 
no  scolding  him,  and  my  kitchen  work  goes  on  sure  and 
slow.  I  have  never  since  I  lived  in  Washington  been  so 
comfortably  and  agreeably  fixed.  Mrs.  P.  is  very  at- 
tentive to  the  children  and  does  a  great  deal  of  sewing. 
When  I  rise  I  always  find  the  parlour  in  neat  order,  a 
good  fire,  breakfast  ready.  I  have  made  a  few  reforms 
in  house-keeping, — one  is  rising  a  little  after  7,  and  hav- 
ing breakfast  precisely  at  8,  the  other  baking  my  own 
bread.  I  have  had  a  close  stove  put  up  in  the  kitchen, 
which  saves  one  half  of  the  wood  that  used  to  be  con- 
sumed; we  cook  entirely  on  it.  Our  standing  dinner  is 
one  dish  of  meat,  two  of  vegetables,  and  soup,  and  the 
stove  exactly  holds  these.  We  have  hot  rolls  for  break- 
fast and  biscuit  or  other  little  cakes  for  tea.  Our  wood 
yard  is  filled  from  our  farm,  our  garden  has  afforded  a 
sufficient  supply  of  vegetables,  and  occasionally  butter ;  I 
go  to  market  myself  once  or  twice  a  week,  in  fine,  every- 
thing is  as  it  should  be  and  my  only  wish  is  that  no  change 
may  occur.  Maria  I  suppose  mentioned  that  my  good 
Mrs.  Doyne  kept  a  boarding  house.  I  have  interested 
myself  very  much  for  her  and  recommend  her  to  Mr.  Bar- 
low,1 he  has  taken  a  parlour  and  bed  room  which  are  very 
neatly  furnished,  and  the  stable, — he  pays  her  40  dollars 
a  week  for  himself,  wife  and  2  servants,  besides  them  she 
has  10  gentlemen  at  10  dollars  a  week  only  for  board  and 
lodging,  as  they  find  fuel,  candles,  etc.  and  so  I  think  she 
will  do  very  well.  We  have  all  the  surrounding  houses 
filled,  but  I  have  not  yet  become  acquainted  with  many  of 

1  Joel  Barlow,  poet,  literary  man  and  diplomatist,  moved  soon  after  this 
to  Kalorama,  a  handsome  estate  north  of  the  citv. 


!8o6]  MR.    LAW'S    POEM  49 

my  new  neighbours.  Dr.  Mitchell1  lives  directly  opposite 
and  we  have  several  ladies  next  door.  We  passed  a  very 
agreeable  evening  at  Mrs.  Gallatin's.  The  Turks  amused 
our  eyes.  I  have  had  so  much  running  about  this  morn- 
ing, salting  away  beef,  &c,  that  I  am  not  in  much  of  a 
letter-writing  mood,  but  delays  are  dangerous.  While 
we  were  at  breakfast  this  morning,  a  large  parcel  was 
brought  in,  with  a  note  from  Mr.  Law.2  The  roll,  when 
untied,  proved  to  be  his  poem — Agitation,  submitted  to 
my  ladyship's  judgement.  Maria  was  delighted,  as  she 
had  been  quite  anxious  to  see  it,  having  heard  Mr.  N's 
account  of  it ;  if  worth  copying,  you  shall  have  it.  I  ex- 
pect we  shall  be  favoured  with  occasional  visits  from  the 
muses  this  winter  as  we  have  two  or  three  voluntarys 
in  our  vicinity,  Dr.  B.  and  Dr.  M.  Dr.  Barlow  is  so 
thoughtful  and  absent  in  company,  that  I  cannot  yet  say 
what  I  think  of  him.  My  pen  drags  so  heavily  along,  and 
my  thoughts  are  so  drawn  off  by  my  little  Sue,  who  is  beg- 
ging to  be  taken  up,  that  I  must  lay  this  sheet  aside  for 
another  occasion,  tho'  I  am  sensible  what  I  have  said, 
is  not  satisfactory.  I  intended  my  dear  sister  to  have 
answer 'd  your  letter  more  fully,  but  am  disappointed. 
Adieu. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Sydney,3  May  4,  1806,  Sunday. 
.     .     .     .     On  Sunday  morning  Mrs.  Randolph  and 
Madison  called  and  I  promised  to  take  tea  with  Mrs.  R. 
in  the  evening.     We  found  no  company,  and  all  the  fam- 

1  Samuel  L.  Mitchill,  the  scientist,  then  a  Senator  from  New  York. 

2  Mr.  Law  wrote  a  great  deal  of  vers  de  socieU,  which  was  much  admired 
by  his  friends.     Fortunately  little  of  it  has  been  preserved. 

3  Their  country  place  which  they  bought  in  1804.  It  occupied  the  tract 
a  part  of  which  is  now  the  Catholic  University  of  America,  adjoining  the 
grounds  of  the  Soldiers'  Home.  Its  name  when  Mr.  Smith  bought  it  was 
Turkey  Thicket.     He  sold  it  in  1835  for  $12,000. 


5o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [May 

ily  were  out,  but  Mr.  J.  and  Mrs.  R.  She  was  seated 
by  him  on  a  sopha  and  all  her  lovely  children  playing 
around  them.  With  what  delight  did  I  contemplate  this 
good  parent,  and  while  I  sat  looking  at  him  playing  with 
these  infants,  one  standing  on  the  sopha  with  its  arms 
round  his  neck,  the  other  two  youngest  on  his  knees,  play- 
ing with  him,  I  could  scarcely  realise  that  he  was  one  of 
the  most  celebrated  men  now  living,  both  as  a  Politician 
and  Philosopher.  He  was  in  one  of  his  most  communi- 
cative and  social  moods,  and  after  tea,  when  the  children 
went  to  bed,  the  conversation  turned  on  agriculture,  gar- 
dening, the  differences  of  both  in  different  countries  and 
of  the  produce  of  different  climates.  This  is  one  of  the 
most  favorite  pursuits  and  indeed  the  conversation  the 
whole  evening  turned  on  his  favorite  subjects.  I  was 
seated  on  the  sopha  which  he  and  Mrs.  R.  occupied  and 
Mr.  Smith  close  by  me,  and  almost  fronting  him.  You 
know  the  effect  of  such  a  disposition  of  places  on  the  free 
flow  of  conversation,  and  I  am  certain  that  had  he  been 
on  the  other  side  of  the  chimney  we  should  not  have 
heard  half  as  much.  There  are  five  cons  necessary  to 
make  a  good  fire,  and  there  are  at  least  two,  to  kindle 
the  warmth  and  animation  of  social  intercourse,  contigu- 
ity and  congruity.  The  evening  passed  delightfully  and 
rapidly  away,  and  I  felt  quite  ashamed  to  find  it  almost 
ten  when  we  rose  to  depart.  Mr.  J.  gave  me  some  win- 
ter melon-seed  from  Malta,  he  doubts  whether  it  will 
come  to  perfection  here,  on  account  of  the  early  frosts, 
so  it  will  not  do  for  Brunswick.     .     .     . 


i8o6]        VISIT   FROM    THE   MADISONS  51 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  B.  SMITH 

Washington,  July  31,  1806  Thursday  Evening. 
.  .  .  .  Last  Sunday1  while  I  had  my  little  flock 
around  me,  the  noise  of  carriages  drew  us  to  the  door 
and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Madison,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Thornton  and 
Mrs.  B.2  came  to  spend  the  evening.  Mrs.  M.  was  all 
that  was  tender,  affectionate  and  attractive  as  usual; 
Mr.  M.  was  in  one  of  his  most  sportive  moods,  the  Dr. 
in  his  philosophical  and  the  ladies  disposed  to  be  pleased. 
The  afternoon  was  passed  sans  ceremonie,  they  sat  on 
the  benches  beneath  the  trees,  swung  in  the  hammoch, 
walked  about  and  Mrs.  T.  led  the  way  through  the 
kitchen  to  look  at  my  milk  house ;  she  was  so  pleased  that 
she  called  the  Dr.,  and  he  so  pleased  he  called  all  the 
rest,  and  so  my  milk  house  underwent  the  inspection  of 
the  secretary,  the  phylosopher  and  the  good  ladies.  It 
was  in  nice  order  with  about  a  dozen  or  fifteen  large 
pans  of  milk  ranged  around ;  Sukey,  who  was  sitting  on 
the  steps  cutting  smoked  beef,  was  quite  proud  of  their 
praise.  I,  as  a  country  woman  ought  to  do,  set  out 
my  large  table,  with  nice  white  cloth,  plates,  knives, 
home  made  bread,  &c.  &c.  My  butter  which  was  as 
hard  as  in  the  middle  of  winter,  was  highly  praised  and 
when  Mrs.  Thornton  observed  my  woman  made  excel- 
lent butter,  I  realy  felt  a  sensation  of  pride,  which  I  do 
not  often  feel,  in  telling  her  it  was  my  own  making  and 
that  since  the  first  of  May,  I  had  never  missed  churn- 
ing but  once.  You  can  not  think  what  a  right  down 
farmer's  wife  I  am,  but  next  winter  will  I  hope  con- 
vince you,  that  at  least  I  am  a  good  dairy  maid,  as  you 
will  eat  of  the  fine  butter  I  pack  away.     I  have  made 

*At  Sidney. 

2  Mrs.  Bordeaux,  Mrs.  Thornton's  mother. 


52  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

about  60  lbs.  this  summer  and  have  packed  near  30  away. 
I  tell  you  these  little  nothings,  dear  Susan,  to  bring  you 
amongst  us  in  fancy  at  least ;  ah,  how  I  wish  you  were 
here  in  reality!  Surely  the  country  is  as  favorable  to 
the  health  of  the  soul  as  to  that  of  the  body,  for  never 
do  I  feel  the  power  of  my  mind  so  active,  or  the  affections 
of  my  heart  so  warm  as  when  surrounded  by  the  works  of 
nature.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  Feb.  9,  1808. 
.  .  .  .  Well,  I  shall  never  grow  any  older,  I  really 
think,  and  it  appears  to  me  both  a  moral  and  physical  im- 
possibility that  30  years  have  passed  since  I  was  born.  I 
wish  I  had  you  at  Washington  a  little  while  and  you 
would  not  think  Aunt  Margaret  the  only  strange  per- 
sonage in  the  world.  The  other  evening  Susan  and  I 
were  very  much  diverted  by  two  most  venerable  senators, 
who  came  to  drink  tea  with  us.  I  perceived  Judge  R. 
minutely  surveying  the  forte  pianno,  and  supposed  he 
might  be  fond  of  musick,  so  asked  Susan  to  play  for 
them.  When  she  took  her  seat,  they  both  drew  nigh 
and  what  I  supposed  to  be  attention  marked  on  their 
countenances,  I  afterwards  found  out  to  be  astonishment, 
for  I  believe  it  was  the  first  time  they  had  seen  or  heard 
such  a  thing.  They  looked  and  looked,  felt  all  over  the 
outside,  peeped  in  where  it  was  open,  and  seemed  so  curi- 
ous to  know  how  the  sound  was  produced,  or  whence  it 
came,  that  I  beged  Susan  to  open  the  lid  and  to  display  the 
internal  machinery.  Never  did  I  see  children  more  de- 
lighted.    "Dear  me,"  said  the  judge,  "how  pretty  those 

1  It  appears  to  be  "Judge  R"  in  the  MS.,  but  there  was  no  Senator  who 
fills  the  description.  Perhaps  Mrs.  Smith  meant  Senator  Buckner  Thurs- 
ton, of  Kentucky,  as  one  of  the  backwoodsmen. 


i8o8]  BACKWOODS    SENATORS  53 

white  and  red  things  jump  up  and  down,  dear  me  what  a 
parcel  of  wires,  strange  that  a  harp  with  a  thousand 
strings  should  keep  in  tune  so  long."  "Pray,"  said  the 
other  senator,  "have  you  any  rule  to  play  musick  ?"  We 
tried  to  explain  how  the  keys  were  the  representatives  of 
the  notes,  they  did  not  seem  to  comprehend,  supposing  all 
Susan's  sweet  melody  was  drawn  by  chance  or  random 
from  this  strange  thing.  When  the  examination  was 
over,  they  both  said  it  was  a  very  pretty  thing.  The 
same  good  judge,  the  other  day  went  up  to  General 
Turreau  in  the  senate,  surveyed  him  from  head  to  foot, 
lifted  up  the  flaps  of  his  coat  all  covered  with  gold  em- 
broidery, asked  him  the  use  of  the  gold  tassels  on  his 
boots,  what  was  such  a  thing  and  such  a  thing  and  how 
much  it  all  might  cost,  all  which  the  general  very  good 
humourdly  answered.  Do  not  think  now  these  good  men 
are  fools,  far  from  it,  they  are  very  sensible  men  and 
useful  citizens,  but  they  have  lived  in  the  back  woods, 
thats  all.  If  you  have  read  my  letters,  you  will  have  seen 
Capt.  Pike1  mentioned  as  one  of  the  most  agreeable 
young  men  who  visited  here.  Well,  here  we  were  teas- 
ing Susan  about  him,  (and  in  fact  it  would  not  have  been 
a  surprising  thing  if  an  impression  had  been  made  on 
her  heart)  when  lo  and  behold  he  the  other  day  told  us 
he  was  a  married  man  and  had  a  daughter  as  big  as 
Julia.  For  his  sport,  he  had  been  masquerading  here 
all  winter,  and  was  a  favorite  beau  among  all  the  belles. 
Poor  Susan  can  hardly  get  over  it,  but  her  forte-pianno 
will  make  her  forget  every  thing  else  I  believe,  for  she 
does  little  else  but  play.  I  am  in  such  a  scribbling  mood 
dear  Mary,  that  I  could  have  rilled  a  folio  sheet  for  you, 
had  I  not  been  affraid  of  frightening  you  from  our  pro- 

1  Zebulon  Montgomery  Pike,  the  explorer,  had  made  his  expedition  into 
the  Louisiana  Territory  the  year  before. 


54  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

posed  correspondence.  But  you  must  take  me  for  better 
or  worse,  folios  and  quarto's,  prose  or  verse,  nonsense  or 
much  sense,  gaiety  or  dullness,  but  always  warmly  and 
unchangeably, 

Affectionately  and  sincerely  your  friend 
Love  to  all  our  friends. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  BAYARD  SMITH 

Saturday,  26  February  [1809]. 
Mr.  Hauto  was  a  very  welcome  visitor  to  us  all.  He 
left  his  packages  first  and  called  an  hour  or  two  after- 
wards, wisely  conjecturing  that  they  would  pave  the  way 
to  a  welcome.  He  came  about  1  oclock,  between  two 
and  three  he  arose  to  take  his  leave,  but  I  begged  he 
would  sit  still  and  take  his  dinner  with  us.  At  four,  Mr. 
Smith  came  home  and  brought  Caleb  Lowndes  with  him. 
"I  have  come  to  take  my  dinner  with  you  without  your 
knowing  anything  about  it,"  said  he,  "You  will  be  the 
only  sufferer  by  that,"  I  replied :  "but  I  never  make  appol- 
ogies  to  Philosophers,  and  I  mean  to  treat  you,  Mr. 
Hauto,  as  well  as  Mr.  Lowndes  as  a  philosopher.  I  al- 
ways take  it  for  granted  they  are  such  intellectual  beings, 
that  they  care  but  little  for  the  gross  articles  of  food  and 
drink,  and  that  you  prefer  the  feast  of  reason  and  the 
flow  of  soul,  to  all  the  ragouts  and  champagne  a  prince 
could  give,  and  then,"  continued  I,  shaking  the  hand  Mr. 
Lowndes  still  held,  "I  will  give  you  what  is  a  rarity  even 
in  Palaces,  a  cordial  welcome."  "And  that,"  said  Mr. 
L.  "is  a  sauce  which  will  give  a  relish  to  the  plainest 
food."  After  this  preface,  which  seemed  as  the  first 
course  for  the  feast  of  reason,  we  sat  down  to  our  roast 
beef,  cold  veal,  peas,  porridge,  &c  with  good  appetites  and 


i8o9]  "INDIAN    PUDDING"  55 

had  a  desert  of  indian  pudding  season'd  with  some  wit 
and  a  great  deal  of  mirth  and  good  humour.  Mr.  Hauto 
to  our  great  entertainment,  had  some  difficulty  in  making 
way  with  his  indian  pudding  and  molasses,  but  when  I 
assured  him  that  this  dish  was  immortalized  by  the  great- 
est poet  of  our  country,  he  made  out  to  mortalize  it.1  I 
like  Mr.  Hauto  very  well  and  shall  say  more  of  him  in  my 
letter  to  Maria,  if  it  does  not  go  all  out  of  my  head.  I 
like  this  Caleb  Lowndes2  very  much  Susan,  and  I  am 
sure  Mary  would  like  him  prodigiously.  I  mean  to  give 
him  a  packet  to  you  and  desire  him  to  call  and  see  you 
all. 

Yes,  Susan,  I  do  indeed  feel  sorry  when  I  think  that 
we  are  soon  to  lose  our  dear  good  President.  You 
know  mine  is  not  a  common  regard,  that  I  not  only  ven- 
erate and  admire  his  character,  but  am  personally  at- 
tached to  him, — his  long  visit  last  autumn  in  the  country, 
in  which  I  had  a  tete-a-tete  of  more  than  two  hours ;  and 
in  which  the  conversation  was  free  and  various  and  I 
might  say  confidential,  has  made  me  more  intimately  ac- 
quainted than  ever.  The  notes  which  on  several  occa- 
sions I  have  received  from  him  I  treasure  up  among  my 
most  precious  relics.  When  he  has  gone,  Washington 
will  not  be  Washington  to  me.  I  cannot  think  of  his  de- 
parture without  tears.  I  do  love  him,  with  all  my  heart 
I  love  him,  but  this  letter  is  to  lay  by  me  for  the  weeks 
journal  and  here  I  am  filling  it  already.  We  have  been 
very  gay  lately, — last  night  made  the  7th  or  8th  ball  this 
winter,  besides  a  great  many  card  parties.  We  had  a 
large  and  agreeable  one  at  Mrs.  Thornton's  last  week.  I 
have  been  tired  of  them  for  some  time,  but  the  girls  do 
not  seem  inclined  to  miss  one.     To  them  they  have  still 

10 Hasty  Pudding"  was  the  title  of  the  poem,  and  the  "greatest  poet" 
was  Joel  Barlow! 
2  A  Philadelphian;  not  of  the  South  Carolina  family. 


56  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

the  charm  of  novelty.  Well,  I  will  stop  now  and  write 
a  little  every  day  this  week. 

Sunday  morning.  I  left  off  about  four  o'clock  yester- 
day, soon  afterwards  we  dined,  the  table  was  just  cleared 
away  and  I  seated  with  Mordaunt  in  hand,  when  Caleb 
Lowndes  came  in,  as  he  often  does  to  take  his  dinner  with 
us.  I  set  the  little  table  out  for  him  and  soon  mustered 
up  a  comfortable  dinner,  and  afterwards  we  sat  and  con- 
versed by  firelight  until  Mr.  Pederson1  came,  lights  were 
then  brought  in,  Mr.  Smith  soon  after  came  home  with 
the  two  Mr.  Brent's.2  The  girls  had  both  gone  up  to 
the  house,  as  Congress  was  still  in  session.  About  9 
oclock  Mrs.  Bayard  came  in,  and  Mr.  P.  and  she  alter- 
nately had  several  games  of  chess.  This  morning  Mr.  P. 
came  to  go  with  us  to  church,  and  we  had  nearly  reached 
the  Capitol  when  we  met  Mr.  Coles3  who  told  us  there 
was  no  church.  So  we  turned  back  and  Mr.  P.  has  been 
sitting  these  two  hours  with  me  and  for  want  of  conversa- 
tion, I  made  him  read  to  me.  All  this  has  so  deranged 
my  ideas  and  so  I  will  write  no  more  at  present. 

Thursday.  Monday,  tuesday,  Wednesday,  is  it  possi- 
ble three  days  already  gone  ?  And  all  in  company,  in  a 
desultory  way.  On  Monday  morning,  Mr.  de  Calve,  Mr. 
Pederson,  and  7  or  8  ladies,  took  up  all  the  time  until 
dinner.  In  the  evening  it  rained,  but  that  did  not  hinder 
our  going;  to  Mrs.  Gallatin's,  where  we  had  a  squeeze,  of 
all  our  grandees.  I  procured  a  seat  next  Mrs.  Wharton, 
which  always  ensures  me  a  pleasant  evening ;  Genl.  Tur- 
reau,4  was  there  in  all  the  splendor  of  gold  and  diamonds ; 

1  Peter  Pederson,  Consul  and  Charge"  d'Affaires  of  Denmark.  He  married 
in  1820  Ann  Caroline  Smith,  of  Charleston,  daughter  of  William  Laughton 
Smith,  Representative  in  Congress. 

2  The  Mayor  of  Washington  was  then  Robert  Bent,  but  there  were  several 
of  the  family,  a  large  one,  who  would  have  been  likely  to  visit  Mrs.  Smith. 

3  Jefferson's  Private  Secretary. 

4  The  French  minister,  a  marshal  of  France. 


1809]       DANCE   AT    CAPTAIN    TINGEY'S  57 

he  took  a  chair  next  to  me  and  had  a  long  talk ;  he  said  he 
had  been  often  wishing  this  winter  to  visit  me  of  an  eve- 
ning but  we  had  so  many  politics  at  our  house,  he  was 
afraid  a  Frenchman  might  be  a  restraint.  The  next 
morning,  after  school  was  over,  I  went  to  Mrs.  Bayard's * 
and  passed  the  morning  with  her.  A  stormy  evening 
prevented  every  one  but  Mr.  Pederson  from  coming. 
We  passed  the  evening  soberly  at  chess.  On  Wednesday 
morning  the  weather  was  delicious.  I  went  with  the 
girls  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Jenkinson  to  the  barracks,  the 
fineness  of  the  weather,  the  gay  appearance  of  the  sol- 
diers and  the  delightful  musick,  animated  every  one,  but 
particularly  the  children.  We  then  went  to  the  Navy 
Yard,  through  the  vessels,  and  then  to  the  new-Bridge, 
over  the  Potomack.  It  was  near  four  oclock  when  we 
reached  home.  This  spring  day  awakened  all  my  rural 
feelings  and  makes  me  impatient  for  the  country.  •  In 
the  evening  we  went  to  Capt.  Tingey's  where  we  had  a 
charming  dance.  I  am  wearied,  positively  wearied  with 
company  and  shall  enjoy  the  solitude  of  the  country  as 
much  as  any  one  ever  did  rest  after  fatigue.  The  city  is 
thronged  with  strangers.  Yesterday  we  saw  4  or  5  car- 
riages-and-four  come  in  and  already  two  have  passed 
this  morning.  The  Miss  Carrols,  Miss  Chases,  Miss 
Cooks,  and  I  dont  know  how  many  more  misses  have 
come  from  Baltimore.  There  are  parties  every  night, 
and  the  galleries. are  crowded  in  the  morning.  Ah,  my 
dear  Susan,  a  stormy  day  in  the  country,  with  you  to  read 
to  me  while  I  worked,  I  should  prefer  to  any  scene  how- 
ever gay.  Had  we  a  house  that  would  admit  it,  I  should 
this  week  have  a  great  deal  of  company;  as  it  is,  I  can 
see  them  only  of  an  evening.  This  sheet  is  full.  I  must 
go  to  Mrs.  [illegible].     Adieu. 

1  Mrs.  James  A.  Bayard  presumably. 


58  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  B.  SMITH 

Saturday,  March,  1809. 
I  have  just  returned  from  the  solemn  and  affecting 
scenes  of  this  day, — to  many  they  were  scenes  of  great- 
ness, gaiety,  and  exultation.  To  me  they  were  melan- 
choly. My  heart  is  oppressed,  my  dearest  Susan  with  a 
weight  of  sadness,  and  my  eyes  are  so  blinded  with  tears 
that  I  can  scarcely  trace  these  lines.  It  is  some  pleasure 
to  me  to  write  to  you  who  participate  in  my  sentiments 
of  affectionate  veneration  for  this  best  of  men.  For  the 
last  time  I  have  seen  him  in  his  own  house.  He  is 
happy,  he  has  enjoyed  all  his  country  can  bestow  of  great- 
ness and  honor,  he  could  enjoy  no  more  were  he  to  re- 
main in  office  his  whole  life  time.  He  only  lays  down  an 
irksome  burden,  but  carries  with  him  an  increase  of  pop- 
ularity, of  esteem  and  love.  He  goes  to  be  happy  with- 
out ceasing  to  be  great.  I  ought  to  rejoice,  too,  but  when 
I  think  of  what  we  are  to  lose,  I  forget  what  he  is  to  gain. 
To-day  after  the  inauguration,  we  all  went  to  Mrs.  Madi- 
son's. The  street  was  full  of  carriages  and  people,  and 
we  had  to  wait  near  half  an  hour,  before  we  could  get  in, 
— the  house  was  completely  filled,  parlours,  entry,  drawing 
room  and  bed  room.  Near  the  door  of  the  drawing  room 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Madison  stood  to  receive  their  company. 
She  looked  extremely  beautiful,  was  drest  in  a  plain  cam- 
brick  dress  with  a  very  long  train,  plain  round  the  neck 
without  any  handkerchief,  and  beautiful  bonnet  of  purple 
velvet,  and  white  satin  with  white  plumes.  She  was  all 
dignity,  grace  and  affability.  Mr.  Madison  shook  my 
hand  with  all  the  cordiality  of  old  acquaintance  but  it  was 
when  I  saw  our  dear  and  venerable  Mr.  Jefferson  that  my 
heart  beat.     When  he  saw  me,  he  advanced  from  the 


,869]  MADISON'S    INAUGURATION  59 

crowd,  took  my  hand  affectionately  and  held  it  five  or  six 
minutes ;  one  of  the  first  things  he  said  was,  "Remember 
the  promise  you  have  made  me,  to  come  to  see  us  next 
summer,  do  not  forget  it,"  said  he,  pressing  my  hand,  "for 
we  shall  certainly  expect  you."  I  assured  him  I  would 
not,  and  told  him  I  could  now  wish  him  joy  with  much 
more  sincerity  than  this  day  8  years  ago.  "You  have 
now  resigned  a  heavy  burden,"  said  I.  "Yes  indeed"  he 
replied  "and  am  much  happier  at  this  moment  than  my 
friend."  The  crowd  was  immense  both  at  the  Capitol 
and  here,  thousands  and  thousands  of  people  thronged  the 
avenue.  The  Capitol  presented  a  gay  scene.  Every  inch 
of  space  was  crowded  and  there  being  as  many  ladies  as 
gentlemen,  all  in  full  dress,  it  gave  it  rather  a  gay  than 
a  solemn  appearance, — there  was  an  attempt  made  to 
appropriate  particular  seats  for  the  ladies  of  public  char- 
acters, but  it  was  found  impossible  to  carry  it  into  effect, 
for  the  sovereign  people  would  not  resign  their  privileges 
and  the  high  and  low  were  promiscuously  blended  on  the 
floor  and  in  the  galleries. 

Mr.  Madison  was  extremely  pale  and  trembled  ex- 
cessively when  he  first  began  to  speak,  but  soon  gained 
confidence  and  spoke  audibly.  From  the  Capitol  we 
went  to  Mrs.  M's.,  and  from  there  to  Mr.  Jefferson's.  I 
there  again  conversed  a  few  minutes ;  Mr.  Smith  told  him 
the  ladies  would  follow  him,  "That  is  right,"  said  he, 
"since  I  am  too  old  to  follow  them.  I  remember  in 
France  when  his  friends  were  taking  leave  of  Dr.  Frank- 
lin, the  ladies  smothered  him  with  embraces  and  on  his 
introducing  me  to  them  as  his  successor,  I  told  him  I 
wished  he  would  transfer  these  privileges  to  me,  but 
he  answered  'You  are  too  young  a  man.'  "  Did  not  this 
imply,  Susan,  that  now  this  objection  was  removed?  I 
had  a  great  inclination  to  tell  him  so. 


6o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Max. 

Sunday  morning.  Well,  my  dear  Susan,  the  chapter 
draws  to  a  close.  Last  night  concluded  the  important 
day,  on  which  our  country  received  a  new  magistrate. 
To  a  philosopher,  who  while  he  contemplated  the  scene, 
revolved  past  ages  in  his  mind,  it  must  have  been  a 
pleasing  sight.  A  citizen,  chosen  from  among  his  equals, 
and  quietly  and  unanimously  elevated  to  a  power,  which 
in  other  countries  and  in  all  ages  of  the  world  has  cost 
so  much  blood  to  attain !  Would  the  size  of  a  letter  allow 
of  it,  I  would  allow  my  pen  to  follow  the  current  of 
thought,  but  to  a  reflecting  mind,  which  can  withdraw  it- 
self from  the  interests  and  desires  of  life,  which  can 
ascend  for  a  little  while  to  another  life,  and  look  down 
upon  this,  the  differences  of  rank,  grandeur,  power,  are 
inequalities  of  condition,  as  imperceptible  as  those  the 
traveller  discerns  in  the  valley,  when  he  looks  down  upon 
it  from  the  summit  of  the  Alps.  The  tallest  tree  of  the 
valley,  does  not  then  appear  higher  than  the  little  shrubs 
it  shelters.  The  storms  roll  harmless  beneath  his  feet, 
clouds  which  darken  those  below,  obstruct  not  his  view 
of  the  sun,  and  while  the  inhabitants  of  the  valley  are  dis- 
tressed and  terrified  by  the  strife  of  the  elements,  he 
enjoys  perpetual  sunshine. 

Thus  have  I  endeavored  to  raise  my  own  mind,  and 
to  contemplate  the  scenes  that  are  acted  before  me. 
Sometimes  I  can  gain  this  abstraction,  but  oftener,  all 
the  weaknesses,  the  vanities,  the  hopes  and  fears  of  this 
vain  show,  level  me  with  the  lowest  of  earthly  minds.  . 

Last  evening,  I  endeavored  calmly  to  look  on,  and 
amidst  the  noise,  bustle  and  crowd,1  to  spend  an  hour  or 
two  in  sober  reflection,  but  my  eye  was  always  fixed  on 
our  venerable  friend,  when  he  approached  my  ear  listened 

xThis  was  the  first  Inauguration  Ball.    See  for  an  account  of  it  The 
Century  for  March,  1905. 


z8o9]  THE    INAUGURATION    BALL  61 

to  catch  every  word  and  when  he  spoke  to  me  my  heart 
beat  with  pleasure.  Personal  attachment  produces  this 
emotion,  and  I  did  not  blame  it.  But  I  have  not  this 
regard  for  Mr.  Madison,  and  I  was  displeased  at  feeling 
no  emotion  when  he  came  up  and  conversed  with  me. 
He  made  some  of  his  old  kind  of  mischievous  allusions, 
and  I  told  him  I  found  him  still  unchanged.1  I  tried  in 
vain  to  feel  merely  as  a  spectator,  the  little  vanities  of  my 
nature  often  conquered  my  better  reason.  The  room 
was  so  terribly  crowded  that  we  had  to  stand  on  the 
benches ;  from  this  situation  we  had  a  view  of  the  moving 
mass ;  for  it  was  nothing  else.  It  was  scarcely  possible  to 
elbow  your  way  from  one  side  to  another,  and  poor  Mrs. 
Madison  was  almost  pressed  to  death,  for  every  one 
crowded  round  her,  those  behind  pressing  on  those  be- 
fore, and  peeping  over  their  shoulders  to  have  a  peep  of 
her,  and  those  who  were  so  fortunate  as  to  get  near 
enough  to  speak  to  her  were  happy  indeed.  As  the 
upper  sashes  of  the  windows  could  not  let  down,  the 
glass  was  broken,  to  ventilate  the  room,  the  air  of  which 
had  become  oppressive,  but  here  I  begin  again  at  the 
end  of  the  story.  Well,  to  make  up  for  it  I  will  begin  at 
the  beginning.  When  we  went  there  were  not  above  50 
persons  in  the  room,  we  were  led  to  benches  at  the  upper 
fire  place.  Not  long  afterwards,  the  musick  struck  up 
Jefferson's  March,  and  he  and  Mr.  Coles  entered.  He 
spoke  to  all  whom  he  knew,  and  was  quite  the  plain,  un- 
assuming citizen.  Madison's  March  was  then  played  and 
Mrs.  Madison  led  in  by  one  of  the  managers  and  Mrs. 
Cutts  and  Mr.  Madison,  she  was  led  to  the  part  of  the 
room  where  we  happened  to  be,  so  that  I  accidently  was 

1  In  public  life  and  as  a  writer,  James  Madison  was  the  most  solemn  of 
men.  In  private  life  he  was  an  incessant  humorist,  and  at  home  at  Mont- 
pelier  used  to  set  his  table  guests  daily  into  roars  of  laughter  over  his  stories 
and  whimsical  way  of  telling  them. 


62  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

placed  next  her.  She  looked  a  queen.  She  had  on  a 
pale  buff  colored  velvet,  made  plain,  with  a  very  long 
train,  but  not  the  least  trimming,  and  beautiful  pearl 
necklace,  earrings  and  bracelets.  Her  head  dress  was  a 
turban  of  the  same  coloured  velvet  and  white  satin  (from 
Paris)  with  two  superb  plumes,  the  bird  of  paradise 
feathers.  It  would  be  absolutely  impossible  for  any  one 
to  behave  with  more  perfect  propriety  than  she  did.  Un- 
assuming dignity,  sweetness,  grace.  It  seems  to  me  that 
such  manners  would  disarm  envy  itself,  and  conciliate 
even  enemies.  The  managers  presented  her  with  the 
first  number, — "But  what  shall  I  do  with  it,"  said  she,  "I 
do  not  dance."  "Give  it  to  your  neighbor,"  said  Capt. 
Tingey.  "Oh  no,"  said  she,  "that  would  look  like  par- 
tiality." "Then  I  will,"  said  the  Capt.  and  he  presented 
it  to  Mrs.  Cutts.  I  really  admired  this  in  Mrs.  M.  Ah, 
why  does  she  not  in  all  things  act  with  the  same  propri- 
ety? She  would  be  too  much  beloved  if  she  added  all 
the  virtues  to  all  the  graces.  She  was  led  to  supper  by 
the  French  Minister,1  Mrs.  Cutts  by  the  English  Minis- 
ter,2 she  sat  at  the  centre  of  the  table,  which  was  a  cres- 
sent,  the  French  and  English  ministers  on  each  hand,  Mrs. 
Cutts  the  next  on  the  right  hand,  Mrs.  Smith3  the  next 
on  the  left  and  Mr.  Madison  on  the  other  side  of  the  table 
opposite  Mrs.  M.  I  chose  a  place  where  I  could  see  Mrs. 
M.  to  advantage.  She  really  in  manners  and  appearance, 
answered  all  my  ideas  of  royalty.  She  was  so  equally 
gracious  to  both  French  and  English,  and  so  affable  to  all. 
I  suspect  Mrs.  Smith  could  not  like  the  superiority  of 
Mrs.  Cutts,  and  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  Mrs.  Madison's 
4  causes  her  some  heart  burnings.    Mr.  Jefferson  did 

1  General  Turreau  de  Garambonville.  '  Honorable  M.  Erskine. 

3  Wife  of  Robert  Smith,  then  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  but  soon  to  be  Sec- 
retary of  State 
*  The  blank  is  in  the  original. 


i8o9]  CHAT   WITH    MADISON  63 

not*  stay  above  two  hours ;  he  seemed  in  high  spirits  and 
his  countenance  beamed  with  a  benevolent  joy.  I  do 
believe  father  never  loved  son  more  than  he  loves  Mr. 
Madison,  and  I  believe  too  that  every  demonstration  of 
respect  to  Mr.  M.  gave  Mr.  J.  more  pleasure  than  if  paid 
to  himself.  Oh  he  is  a  good  man!  And  the  day  will 
come  when  all  party  spirit  shall  expire,  that  every  citizen 
of  the  United  States  will  join  in  saying  "He  is  a  good 
man."  Mr.  Madison,  on  the  contrary,  seemed  spiritless 
and  exhausted.  While  he  was  standing  by  me  I  said, 
"I  wish  with  all  my  heart  I  had  a  little  bit  of  seat  to 
offer  you."  "I  wish  so  too,"  said  he,  with  a  most  woe 
begone  face,  and  looking  as  if  he  could  scarcely  stand, — 
the  managers  came  up  to  ask  him  to  stay  to  supper,  he 
assented,  and  turning  to  me,  "but  I  would  much  rather 
be  in  bed"  said  he.  Immediately  after  supper  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  M.  withdrew,  the  rest  of  the  company  danced  until 
12,  the  moment  the  clock  struck  that  hour,  the  musick 
stopped,  and  we  all  came  home  tired  and  sick.  "And 
such,"  said  I  as  I  threw  myself  on  the  bed,  "such  are  the 
gaiety  and  pleasures  of  the  world !  Oh  give  me  the  soli- 
tude of  our  cottage,  where  after  a  day  well  spent,  I  lay 
down  so  tranquil  and  cheerful."  Never  do  I  recollect 
one  night,  retiring  with  such  a  vacuum,  such  a  dissatisfied 
craving,  such  a  restlessness  of  spirit,  such  undefined, 
vague  desires,  as  I  now  do.  No,  the  world  is  not  the 
abode  of  happiness,  for  while  we  have  the  weakness  of 
humanity  about  us,  vanity,  pride,  ambition,  in  some  form 
or  other  will  invade  and  disturb  the  breast  of  the  humblest 
individual.  But  when  far  away  from  such  excitements, 
all  within  is  peace  in  the  performance  of  known  duties ;  in 
the  enjoyment  of  intellectual  and  social  pleasures,  the  best 
part  of  our  nature  is  satisfied,  the  ambition  of  having  the 
first  blown  rose,  or  the  sweetest  strawberry,  lead  only  to 


64  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

pleasing  anxiety  and  activity,  the  object  of  our  ambition 
being  attainable,  we  are  not  tormented  by  unsatisfied 
desires.  After  enjoying  all  the  pomp  and  grandeur  of 
the  greatest  empire  in  the  world,  after  conquering  nations, 
and  the  most  splendid  triumphs,  Diocletian,  this  proud 
master  of  the  world,  voluntarily  forsook  these  delusive 
pleasures,  and  often  said  while  tilling  his  own  garden,  I 
take  more  pleasure  in  cultivating  my  garden  with  my  own 
hands,  and  in  eating  the  cabbages  I  have  planted  and 
rear'd  than  in  all,  that  Rome  could  ever  give  me.  Like 
him,  our  good  and  great  Jefferson  will  taste  the  sweets  of 
seclusion.  But  far  happier  is  our  president  than  the 
Roman  Emperor.  His  retirement  is  a  home  endeared  by 
the  truest  friendship ;  the  most  ardent  and  devoted  affec- 
tion, where  his  children,  his  grand  children  and  great 
grandchildren,  will  lavish  on  him  all  the  peculiar  joys  of 
the  heart.  How  I  have  rambled  in  this  long  letter,  but  I 
am  sure  all  these  details  will  be  pleasing  to  you,  so  I  make 
no  appology.  To  you  they  will  not  appear  extravagant, 
to  Maria  B.  perhaps  they  will. 

And  now  for  a  little  of  humbler  themes.  We  propose 
this  week  removing  to  the  country,  I  never  felt  more  im- 
patient to  go,  as  I  propose  a  number  of  little  improve- 
ments,— such  as  having  a  little  poultry  yard  enclosed  with 
boards,  where  I  intend  raising  a  great  many  chickens. 
The  well-diggers  are  to  go  out  very  soon,  and  we  shall 
try  to  get  water.  Mr.  Madison  last  night  enquired 
among  other  things  about  this  matter.  "Truth  is  at  the 
bottom  of  a  well,  is  the  old  saying,  and  I  expect  when  you 
get  to  the  bottom  of  yours,  you  will  discover  most  im- 
portant truths.  But  I  hope  you  will  at  least  find  water'1 
continued  he,  smiling.  Indeed  I  hope  we  will,  and  I  am 
sure  you  join  in  this  wish,  knowing  how  much  we  suffer 
from  the  want  of  it.     .     .     . 


i8o9]  MONTICELLO  65 


VISIT   TO   MONTICELLO   AND   MONTPELIER 

Monticello,  August  1st,  1809.1 
In  a  visit  Mr.  J.  made  our  little  cottage  last  autumn, 
we  were  speaking  of  all  the  various  charms  of  nature, 
storms  of  winter,  "But,"  said  he,  "you  can  here  form  no 
idea  of  a  snow  storm,  No,  to  see  it  in  all  its  grandeur  you 
should  stand  at  my  back  door ;  there  we  see  its  progress — 
rising  over  the  distant  Allegany,  come  sweeping  and  roar- 
ing on,  mountain  after  mountain,  till  it  reaches  us,  and 
then  when  its  blast  is  felt,  to  turn  to  our  fire  side,  and 
while  we  hear  it  pelting  against  the  window  to  enjoy  the 
cheering  blaze,  and  the  comforts  of  a  beloved  family." 
Well,  I  have  seen  those  distant  mountains  over  which  the 
winter  storm  has  swept,  now  rearing  their  blue  and  misty 
heads  to  the  clouds,  and  forming  a  sublime  and  beautiful 
horrison  round  one  of  the  finest  and  most  extended  scenes 
the  eye  ever  rested  on. — I  have  seen  that  beloved  family, 
whose  virtues  and  affections  are  the  best  reward  and  the 
best  treasure  of  their  parent  and  their  country's  parent — I 
have  seen,  I  have  listened  to,  one  of  the  greatest  and  best 
of  men.  He  has  passed  through  the  tempestuous  sea  of 
political  life,  has  been  enveloped  in  clouds  of  calumny,  the 
storms  of  faction,  assailed  by  foreign  and  domestic  foes, 
and  often  threatened  with  a  wreck,  of  happiness  and  fame. 
But  these  things  are  now  all  passed  away,  and  like  the 
mountain  on  which  he  stands,  fogs  and  mists  and  storms, 
gather  and  rage  below,  while  he  enjoys  unclouded  sun- 
shine. How  simple  and  majestic  is  his  character,  my 
affection  for  him  is  weighed  with  much  veneration,  that, 
meek,  humble,  gentle  and  kind,  as  he  is  in  his  manners, 

1  From  Mrs.  Smith's  note  book. 


66  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

I  cannot  converse  with  him,  with  ease.  My  mind  is 
busied  in  thinking  of  what  he  is,  rather  than  listening 
to  what  he  says.  After  a  very  delightful  journey  of 
three  days,  we  reached  Monticello  on  the  morning  of  the 
fourth.  When  I  crossed  the  Ravanna,  a  wild  and  ro- 
mantic little  river,  which  flows  at  the  foot  of  the  moun- 
tain, my  heart  beat, — I  thought  I  had  entered,  as  it  were 
the  threshhold  of  his  dwelling,  and  I  looked  around  ev- 
erywhere expecting  to  meet  with  some  trace  of  his 
superintending  care.  In  this  I  was  disappointed,  for  no 
vestige  of  the  labour  of  man  appeared ;  nature  seemed  to 
hold  an  undisturbed  dominion.  We  began  to  ascend 
this  mountain,  still  as  we  rose  I  cast  my  eyes  around,  but 
could  discern  nothing  but  untamed  woodland,  after  a 
mile's  winding  upwards,  we  saw  a  field  of  corn,  but  the 
road  was  still  wild  and  uncultivated.  I  every  moment 
expected  to  reach  the  summit,  and  felt  as  if  it  was  an  end- 
less road ;  my  impatience  lengthened  it,  for  it  is  not  two 
miles  from  the  outer  gate  on  the  river  to  the  house.  At 
last  we  reached  the  summit,  and  I  shall  never  forget  the 
emotion  the  first  view  of  this  sublime  scenery  excited. 
Below  me  extended  for  above  60  miles  round,  a  country 
covered  with  woods,  plantations  and  houses ;  beyond,  arose 
the  blue  mountains,  in  all  their  grandeur.  Monticello  ris- 
ing 500  feet  above  the  river,  of  a  conical  form  and  stand- 
ing by  itself,  commands  on  all  sides  an  unobstructed  and 
I  suppose  one  of  the  most  extensive  views  any  spot  the 
globe  affords.  The  sides  of  the  mountain  covered  with 
wood,  with  scarcely  a  speck  of  cultivation,  present  a  fine 
contrast  to  its  summit,  crowned  with  a  noble  pile  of  build- 
ings, surounded  by  an  immense  lawn,  and  shaded  here 
and  there  with  some  fine  trees.  Before  we  reached  the 
house,  we  met  Mr.  J.  on  horseback,  he  had  just  returned 
from  his  morning  ride,  and  when,  on  approaching,  he 


i8o9I  WELCOMED    BY   JEFFERSON  67 

recognized  us,  he  received  us  with  one  of  those  benignant 
smiles,  and  cordial  tones  of  voice  that  convey  an  un- 
doubted welcome  to  the  heart.  He  dismounted  and 
assisted  me  from  the  carriage,  led  us  to  the  hall  thro*  a 
noble  portico,  where  he  again  bade  us  welcome.  I  was 
so  struck  with  the  appearance  of  this  Hall,  that  I  lingered 
to  look  around,  but  he  led  me  forward,  smiling  as  he  said, 
"You  shall  look  bye  and  bye,  but  you  must  now  rest." 
Leading  me  to  a  sopha  in  a  drawing  room  as  singular 
and  beautiful  as  the  Hall,  he  rang  and  sent  word  to  Mrs. 
Randolph  that  we  were  there,  and  then  ordered  some 
refreshments.  "We  have  quite  a  sick  family,"  said  he; 
"My  daughter  has  been  confined  to  the  sick  bed  of  her 
little  son ;  my  grand-daughter  has  lost  her's  and  still  keeps 
to  her  room  and  several  of  the  younger  children  are  in- 
disposed. For  a  fortnight  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Randolph  have 
sat  up  every  night,  until  they  are  almost  worn  out."  This 
information  clouded  my  satisfaction  and  cast  a  gloom 
over  our  visit, — but  Mrs.  R.  soon  entered,  and  with  a 
smiling  face,  most  affectionately  welcomed  us.  Her 
kind  and  cheerful  manners  soon  dispersed  my  gloom  and 
after  a  little  chat,  I  begged  her  not  to  let  me  detain  her 
from  her  nursery,  but  to  allow  me  to  follow  her  to  it ;  she 
assented  and  I  sat  with  her  until  dinner  time.  Anne,1 
(Mrs.  Bankhead)  who  had  been  confined  3  weeks  before 
and  had  lost  her  child  looked  delicate  and  interesting; 
Ellen,  my  old  favorite,  I  found  improved  as  well  as 
grown.  At  five  o'clock  the  bell  summoned  us  to  dinner. 
Mr.  Randolph,  Mr.  Bankhead,  and  Jefferson  R.  were 
there.  They  are  12  in  family,  and  as  Mr.  J.  sat  in  the 
midst  of  his  children  and  grand-children,  I  looked  on  him 
with  emotions  of  tenderness  and  respect.  The  table  was 
plainly,  but  genteely  and  plentifully  spread,  and  his  im- 

1  Jefferson's  eldest  daughter. 


68  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

mense  and  costly  variety  of  French  and  Italian  wines, 
gave  place  to  Madeira  and  a  sweet  ladies'  wine.  We  sat 
till  near  sun  down  at  the  table,  where  the  desert  was  suc- 
ceeded by  agreeable  and  instructive  conversation  in  which 
every  one  seemed  to  wish  and  expect  Mr.  J.  to  take  the 
chief  part.  As  it  is  his  custom  after  breakfast  to  with- 
draw to  his  own  apartments  and  pursuits  and  not  to  join 
the  family  again  until  dinner,  he  prolongs  that  meal,  or 
rather  the  time  after  that  meal,  and  seems  to  relish  his 
wine  the  better  for  being  accompanied  with  conversation, 
and  during  the  4  days  I  spent  there  these  were  the  most 
social  hours.  When  we  rose  from  table,  a  walk  was  pro- 
posed and  he  accompanied  us.  He  took  us  first  to  the 
garden  he  has  commenced  since  his  retirement.  It  is  on 
the  south  side  of  the  mountain  and  commands  a  most 
noble  view.  Little  is  as  yet  done.  A  terrace  of  70  or  80 
feet  long  and  about  40  wide  is  already  made  and  in  culti- 
vation. A  broad  grass  walk  leads  along  the  outer  edge ; 
the  inner  part  is  laid  off  in  beds  for  vegetables.  This  ter- 
race is  to  be  extended  in  length  and  another  to  be  made 
below  it.  The  view  it  commands,  is  at  present  its  great- 
est beauty.  We  afterwards  walked  round  the  first  circuit. 
There  are  4  roads  about  1 5  or  20  feet  wide,  cut  round  the 
mountain  from  100  to  200  feet  apart.  These  circuits  are 
connected  by  a  great  many  roads  and  paths  and  when 
completed  will  afford  a  beautiful  shady  ride  or  walk  of 
seven  miles.  The  first  circuit  is  not  quite  a  mile  round, 
as  it  is  very  near  the  top.  It  is  in  general  shady,  with 
openings  through  the  trees  for  distant  views.  We  passed 
the  outhouses  for  the  slaves  and  workmen.  They  are  all 
much  better  than  I  have  seen  on  any  other  plantation,  but 
to  an  eye  unaccustomed  to  such  sights,  they  appear  poor 
and  their  cabins  form  a  most  unpleasant  contrast  with  the 
palace  that  rises  so  near  them.     Mr.  J.  has  carpenters. 


i8o9]        BREAKFAST   AT    MONTICELLO  69 

cabinet-makers,  painters,  and  blacksmiths  and  several 
other  trades  all  within  himself,  and  finds  these  slaves  ex- 
cellent workmen.  As  we  walked,  he  explained  his  future 
designs.  "My  long  absence  from  this  place,  has  left  a 
wilderness  around  me."  "But  you  have  returned,"  said 
I,  "and  the  wilderness  shall  blossom  like  the  rose  and 
you,  I  hope,  will  long  sit  beneath  your  own  vine  and  your 
own  fig-tree."  It  was  near  dark  when  we  reached  the 
house;  he  led  us  into  a  little  tea  room  which  opened  on 
the  terrace  and  as  Mrs.  R.  was  still  in  her  nursery  he  sat 
with  us  and  conversed  till  tea  time.  We  never  drank  tea 
until  near  nine,  afterwards  there  was  fruit,  which  he  sel- 
dom staid  to  partake  of,  as  he  always  retired  immediately 
after  tea.  I  never  sat  above  an  hour  afterwards,  as  I 
supposed  Mrs.  R.  must  wish  to  be  in  her  nursery.  I 
rose  the  morning  after  my  arrival  very  early  and  went 
out  on  the  terrace,  to  contemplate  scenery,  which  to  me 
was  so  novel.  The  space  between  Monticello  and  the 
Allegany,  from  sixty  to  eighty  miles,  was  covered  with 
a  thick  fog,  which  had  the  appearance  of  the  ocean  and 
was  unbroken  except  when  wood  covered  hills  rose  above 
the  plain  and  looked  like  islands.  As  the  sun  rose,  the 
fog  was  broken  and  exhibited  the  most  various  and  fan- 
tastic forms,  lakes,  rivers,  bays,  and  as  it  ascended,  it 
hung  in  white  fleecy  clouds  on  the  sides  of  the  mountains ; 
an  hour  afterwards  you  would  scarcely  believe  it  was  the 
same  scene  you  looked  on.  In  spite  of  the  cold  air  from 
the  mountains,  I  staid  here  until  the  first  breakfast  bell 
rang.  Our  breakfast  table  was  as  large  as  our  dinner 
table;  instead  of  a  cloth,  a  folded  napkin  lay  under  each 
plate ;  we  had  tea,  coffee,  excellent  muffins,  hot  wheat  and 
corn  bread,  cold  ham  and  butter.  It  was  not  exactly  the 
Virginian  breakfast  I  expected.  Here  indeed  was  the 
mode  of  living  in  general  that  of  a  Virginian  planter. 


7o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

At  breakfast  the  family  all  assembled,  all  Mrs.  R's.  chil- 
dren eat  at  the  family  table,  but  are  in  such  excellent 
order,  that  you  would  not  know,  if  you  did  not  see  them, 
that  a  child  was  present.  After  breakfast,  I  soon  learned 
that  it  was  the  habit  of  the  family  each  separately  to  pur- 
sue their  occupations.  Mr.  J.  went  to  his  apartments, 
the  door  of  which  is  never  opened  but  by  himself  and  his 
retirement  seems  so  sacred  that  I  told  him  it  was  his 
sanctum  sanctorum.  Mr.  Randolph  rides  over  to  his 
farm  and  seldom  returns  until  night ;  Mr.  Bankhead  who 
is  reading  law  to  his  study;  a  small  building  at  the  end 
of  the  east  terrace,  opposite  to  Mr.  Randolph's  which  ter- 
minates the  west  terrace ;  these  buildings  are  called  pavil- 
ions. Jefferson  R.  went  to  survey  a  tract  of  woodland, 
afterwards  make  his  report  to  his  grand  father.  Mrs. 
Randolph  withdrew  to  her  nursery  and  excepting  the 
hours  housekeeping  requires  she  devotes  the  rest  to  her 
children,  whom  she  instructs.  As  for  them,  they  seem 
never  to  leave  her  for  an  instant,  but  are  always  beside 
her  or  on  her  lap. 

Visitors  generally  retire  to  their  own  rooms,  or  walk 
about  the  place ;  those  who  are  fond  of  reading  can  never 
be  at  a  loss,  those  who  are  not  will  some  times  feel 
wearied  in  the  long  interval  between  breakfast  and  din- 
ner. The  dinner  bell  rings  twice,  the  first  collects  the 
family  in  time  to  enter  the  room  by  the  time  the  second 
announces  dinner  to  be  on  table,  which  while  I  was  there 
was  between  4  and  5  oclock.  In  summer  the  interval 
between  rising  from  table  and  tea  (9  oclock)  may  be 
agreeably  passed  in  walking.  But  to  return  to  my  jour- 
nal. After  breakfast  on  Sunday  morning,  I  asked  Ellen 
to  go  with  me  on  the  top  of  the  house ;  Mr.  J.  heard  me 
and  went  along  with  us  and  pointed  out  those  spots  in  the 
landscape  most  remarkable.     The  morning  was  show'ry, 


i*>9]  BOOKS    AT    MONTICELLO  71 

the  clouds  had  a  fine  effect,  throwing  large  masses  of 
shade  on  the  mountain  sides,  which  finely  contrasted  with 
the  sunshine  of  other  spots.  He  afterwards  took  us  to 
the  drawing  room,  26  or  7  feet  diameter,  in  the  dome. 
It  is  a  noble  and  beautiful  apartment,  with  8  circular  win- 
dows and  a  sky-light.  It  was  not  furnished  and  being 
in  the  attic  story  is  not  used,  which  I  thought  a  great  pity, 
as  it  might  be  made  the  most  beautiful  room  in  the  house. 
The  attic  chambers  are  comfortable  and  neatly  finished 
but  no  elegance.  When  we  descended  to  the  hall,  he 
asked  us  to  pass  into  the  Library,  or  as  I  called  it  his 
sanctum  sanctorum,  where  any  other  feet  than  his  own 
seldom  intrude.  This  suit  of  apartments  opens  from  the 
Hall  to  the  south.  It  consists  of  3  rooms  for  the  library, 
one  for  his  cabinet,  one  for  his  chamber,  and  a  green 
house  divided  from  the  other  by  glass  compartments  and 
doors ;  so  that  the  view  of  the  plants  it  contains,  is  unob- 
structed. He  has  not  yet  made  his  collection,  having  but 
just  finished  the  room,  which  opens  on  one  of  the  terraces. 
He  showed  us  everything  he  thought  would  please  or  in- 
terest us.  His  most  valuable  and  curious  books — those 
which  contained  fine  prints  etc. — among  these  I  thought 
the  most  curious  were  the  original  letters  of  Cortez  to  the 
King  of  Spain,  a  vol  of  fine  views  of  ancient  villas  around 
Rome,  with  maps  of  the  grounds,  and  minute  descriptions 
of  the  buildings  and  grounds,  an  old  poem  written  by 
Piers  Plowman  and  printed  250  years  ago;  he  read  near 
a  page,  which  was  almost  as  unintelligible  as  if  it  was 
Hebrew;  and  some  Greek  romances.  He  took  pains  to 
find  one  that  was  translated  into  French,  as  most  of  them 
were  translated  in  Latin  and  Italian.  More  than  two 
hours  passed  most  charmingly  away.  The  library  con- 
sists of  books  in  all  languages,  and  contains  about  twenty 
thousand  vols,  but  so  disposed  that  they  do  not  give  the 


72  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

idea  of  a  great  library.  I  own  I  was  much  disappointed 
in  its  appearance,  and  I  do  not  think  with  its  numerous 
divisions  and  arches  it  is  as  impressive  as  one  large  room 
would  have  been.  His  cabinet  and  chamber  contained 
every  convenience  and  comfort,  but  were  plain.  His  bed 
is  built  in  the  wall  which  divides  his  chamber  and  cabinet. 
He  opened  a  little  closet  which  contains  all  his  garden 
seeds.  They  are  all  in  little  phials,  labled  and  hung  on 
little  hooks.  Seeds  such  as  peas,  beans,  etc.  were  in  tin 
cannisters,  but  everything  labeled  and  in  the  neatest  order. 
He  bade  us  take  whatever  books  we  wished,  which  we 
did,  and  then  retired  to  our  own  room.  Here  we  amused 
ourselves  until  dinner  time  excepting  an  hour  I  sat  with 
Mrs.  R.  by  her  sick  baby,  but  as  she  was  reading  I  did 
not  sit  long.  After  dinner  Ellen  and  Mr.  Bankhead  ac- 
companied us  in  a  long  ramble  in  the  mountain  walks. 
At  dark  when  we  returned,  the  tea  room  was  still  vacant ; 
I  called  Virgina  and  Mary  (the  age  of  my  Julia  and 
Susan)  amused  myself  with  them  until  their  grand  papa 
entered,  with  whom  I  had  a  long  and  interesting  conver- 
sation ;  in  which  he  described  with  enthusiasm  his  retire- 
ment from  public  life  and  the  pleasures  he  found  in 
domestic. 

Monday  morning.  I  again  rose  early  in  order  to  ob- 
serve the  scenes  around  me  and  was  again  repaid  for  the 
loss  of  sleep,  by  the  various  appearances  the  landscape 
assumed  as  the  fog  was  rising.  But  the  blue  and  misty 
mountains,  now  lighted  up  with  sunshine,  now  thrown 
into  deep  shadow,  presented  objects  on  which  I  gaze  each 
morning  with  new  pleasure.  After  breakfast  Mr.  J. 
sent  E.  to  ask  me  if  I  would  take  a  ride  with  him  round 
the  mountain;  I  willing  assented  and  in  a  little  while  I 
was  summoned ;  the  carriage  was  a  kind  of  chair,  which 
his  own  workmen  had  made  under  his  direction,  and  it 


i8o9]         A   DRIVE   WITH   JEFFERSON  73 

was  with  difficulty  that  he,  Ellen  and  I  found  room  in  it, 
and  might  well  be  called  the  sociable.  The  first  circuit, 
the  road  was  good,  and  I  enjoyed  the  views  it  afforded 
and  the  familiar  and  easy  conversation,  which  our  socia- 
ble gave  rise  to;  but  when  we  descended  to  the  second 
and  third  circuit,  fear  took  from  me  the  power  of  listening 
to  him,  or  observing  the  scene,  nor  could  I  forbear  ex- 
pressing my  alarm,  as  we  went  along  a  rough  road  which 
had  only  been  laid  out,  and  on  driving  over  fallen  trees, 
and  great  rocks,  which  threatened  an  overset  to  our  socia- 
ble and  a  roll  down  the  mountains  to  us.  "My  dear 
madam,"  said  Mr.  J.,  "you  are  not  to  be  afraid,  or  if  you 
are  you  are  not  to  show  it ;  trust  yourself  implicitly  to  me, 
I  will  answer  for  your  safety ;  I  came  every  foot  of  this 
road  yesterday,  on  purpose  to  see  if  a  carriage  could  come 
safely;  I  know  every  step  I  take,  so  banish  all  fear." 
This  I  tried  to  do,  but  in  vain,  till  coming  to  a  road 
over  which  one  wheel  must  pass  I  jumped  out,  while 
the  servant  who  attended  on  horseback  rode  forward 
and  held  up  the  carriage  as  Mr.  J.  passed.  Poor  Ellen 
did  not  dare  to  get  out.  Notwithstanding  the  terror  I 
suffered  I  would  not  have  lost  this  ride;  as  Mr.  J.  ex- 
plained to  me  all  his  plans  for  improvement,  where  the 
roads,  the  walks,  the  seats,  the  little  temples  were  to  be 
placed.  There  are  two  springs  gushing  from  the  moun- 
tain side;  he  took  me  to  one  which  might  be  made  very 
picturesque.  As  we  passed  the  graveyard,  which  is 
about  half  way  down  the  mountain,  in  a  sequestered 
spot,  he  told  me  he  there  meant  to  place  a  small  gothic 
building, — higher  up,  where  a  beautiful  little  mound  was 
covered  with  a  grove  of  trees,  he  meant  to  place  a  mon- 
ument to  his  friend  Wythe.  We  returned  home  by  a 
road  which  did  not  wind  round  the  mountain  but  carried 
us  to  the  summit  by  a  gentle  ascent.     It  was  a  good  road, 


74  .    WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug 

and  my  terror  vanished  and  I  enjoyed  conversation.  I 
found  Mrs.  R.  deeply  engaged  in  the  Wild  Irish  Boy  sit- 
ting by  the  side  of  her  little  patient ;  I  did  not  stay  long 
to  interrupt  her,  but  finding  Mrs.  Bankhead  likewise  en- 
gaged with  a  book,  I  withdrew  to  my  own  room  to  read 
my  Grecian  romance.  At  dinner  Mrs.  Randolph  sent  an 
apology,  she  hurt  her  eye  so  badly,  that  it  produced  ex- 
cessive inflamation  and  pain,  which  obliged  her  to  go  to 
bed.  After  dinner  I  went  up  to  sit  by  her,  Mr.  J.  came 
up  soon  after  and  I  was  delighted  by  his  tender  attentions 
to  their  dear  daughter.  As  he  sat  by  her  and  held  her 
hand,  for  above  an  hour,  we  had  a  long  social  conversa- 
tion in  which  Mrs.  R.  joined  occasionally.  After  he  had 
gone,  finding  her  disposed  to  sleep,  I  went  down.  It 
was  now  quite  dark  and  too  late  to  walk,  so  I  took  my 
seat  in  the  tea  room  with  my  little  girls  and  told  them 
stories  till  the  tea  bell  again  collected  the  family. 

Tuesday.  After  breakfast  I  went  up  and  sat  all  the 
morning  by  Mrs.  Randolph ;  she  was  too  unwell  to  rise ; 
part  of  the  time  I  read,  but  when  we  were  alone,  con- 
versed. Our  conversation  turned  chiefly  on  her  father, 
and  on  her  mentioning  their  correspondence,  I  begged  her 
to  show  me  some  of  his  letters.  This  she  willingly  as- 
sented to  and  it  was  a  rich  repast  to  mind  and  heart. 
Some  of  them  were  written  when  he  was  minister  in 
France  and  she  in  a  convent.  These  are  filled  with  the 
best  advice  in  the  best  language.  His  letters  come  down 
to  the  last  days  of  his  political  life ;  in  every  one  he  ex- 
presses his  longings  after  retirement.  She  was  so.  good 
as  to  give  me  one  of  these  precious  letters.  When  I  went 
down  stairs  I  found  Mr.  J.  in  the  hall  and  Mr.  S.,  and 
we  had  a  long  conversation  on  a  variety  of  topics.  He 
took  us  a  charming  walk  round  the  edge  of  the  lawn  and 
showed  us  the  spots  from  which  the  house  appeared  to 


i8o9]        REFLECTIONS    ON    JEFFERSON  75 

most  advantage.  I  looked  upon  him  as  he  walked,  the 
top  of  this  mountain,  as  a  being  elevated  above  the  mass 
of  mankind,  as  much  in  character  as  he  was  in  local  sit- 
uation. I  reflected  on  the  long  career  of  public  duties 
and  stations  through  which  he  had  passed,  and  that  after 
forty  years  spent  on  the  tempestuous  sea  of  political  life, 
he  had  now  reached  the  haven  of  domestic  life.  Here 
while  the  storm  roared  at  a  distance,  he  could  hear  its 
roaring  and  be  at  peace.  He  had  been  a  faithful  labourer 
in  the  harvest  field  of  life,  his  labours  were  crowned  with 
success,  and  he  had  reaped  a  rich  harvest  of  fame  and 
wealth  and  honor.  All  that  in  this,  his  winter  of  life  he 
may  enjoy  the  harvest  he  has  reaped.  In  him  I  perceive 
no  decay  of  mind  or  debility  of  frame  and  to  all  the  wis- 
dom and  experience  of  age,  he  adds  the  enthusiasm  and 
ardour  of  youth.  I  looked  on  him  with  wonder  as  I 
heard  him  describe  the  improvements  he  designed  in  his 
grounds,  they  seemed  to  require  a  whole  life  to  carry 
into  effect,  and  a  young  man  might  doubt  of  ever  com- 
pleting or  enjoying  them.  But  he  seems  to  have  trans- 
posed his  hopes  and  anticipations  into  the  existence  of  his 
children.  It  is  in  them  he  lives,  and  I  believe  he  finds  as 
much  delight  in  the  idea  that  they  will  enjoy  the  fruit 
of  his  present  iabours,  as  if  he  hoped  it  for  himself.  If 
full  occupation  of  mind,  heart  and  hands,  is  happiness, 
surely  he  is  happy.  The  sun  never  sees  him  in  bed,  and 
his  mind  designs  more  than  the  day  can  fulfil,  even  his 
long  day.  The  conversation  of  the  morning,  the  letters 
I  had  read,  and  the  idea  that  this  was  the  last  day  I  was 
to  spend  in  his  society,  the  last  time  I  was  ever  to  see 
him,  filled  my  heart  with  sadness.  I  could  scarcely  look 
at  or  speak  to  him  without  tears.  After  dinner  he  went 
to  the  carpenter's  shop,  to  give  directions  for  a  walking 
seat  he  had  ordered  made  for  us,  and  I  did  not  see  him 


76  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

again  until  after  sun-set.  I  spent  the  interval  in  walking 
with  Mr.  Smith  round  the  lawn  and  grave,  and  had  just 
parted  from  him  to  join  the  children  to  whom  I  had 
promised  another  story,  when  as  I  passed  the  terrace,  Mr. 
J.  came  out  and  joined  us.  The  children  ran  to  him  and 
immediately  proposed  a  race ;  we  seated  ourselves  on  the 
steps  of  the  Portico,  and  he  after  placing  the  children 
according  to  their  size  one  before  the  other,  gave  the 
word  for  starting  and  away  they  flew ;  the  course  round 
this  back  lawn  was  a  qr.  of  a  mile,  the  little  girls  were 
much  tired  by  the  time  they  returned  to  the  spot  from 
which  they  started  and  came  panting  and  out  of  breath 
to  throw  themselves  into  their  grandfather's  arms,  which 
were  opened  to  receive  them;  he  pressed  them  to  his 
bosom  and  rewarded  them  with  a  kiss ;  he  was  sitting  on 
the  grass  and  they  sat  down  by  him,  untill  they  were 
rested ;  then  they  again  wished  to  set  off ;  he  thought  it  too 
long  a  course  for  little  Mary  and  proposed  running  on  the 
terrace.  Thither  we  went,  and  seating  ourselves  at  one 
end,  they  ran  from  us  to  the  pavillion  and  back  again; 
"What  an  amusement,"  said  I,  "do  these  little  creatures 
afford  us."  "Yes/'  replied  he,  "it  is  only  with  them  that  a 
grave  man  can  play  the  fool."  They  now  called  on  him 
to  run  with  them,  he  did  not  long  resist  and  seemed  de- 
lighted in  delighting  them.  Oh  ye  whose  envenomed 
calumny  has  painted  him  as  the  slave  of  the  vilest  pas- 
sions, come  here  and  contemplate  this  scene!  The  sim- 
plicity, the  gaiety,  the  modesty  and  gentleness  of  a  child, 
united  to  all  that  is  great  and  venerable  in  the  human 
character.  His  life  is  the  best  refutation  of  the  calumnies 
that  have  been  heaped  upon  him  and  it  seems*  to"  me  im- 
possible, for  any  one  personally  to  know  him  and  remain 
his  enemy.  It  was  dark  by  the  time  we  entered  the  tea- 
room.    I  was  glad  to  close  the  windows  and  shut  out  the 


i8o9]         FROM    JFFERSON'S    LETTERS  77 

keen  air  from  the  mountains.  The  mornings  and  even- 
ings are  here  always  cool  and  indeed  Mrs.  Randolph 
says  it  is  never  hot.  As  it  was  the  last  evening  we  were 
to  pass  here,  Mr.  J.  sat  longer  than  usual  after  tea.  All 
the  family  except  Mrs.  Randolph  were  at  tea.  I  gazed 
upon  Mr.  J.  in  the  midst  of  this  interesting  circle  and 
thought  of  the  following  lines,  which  I  copied  from  one 
of  his  letters. 

"When  I  look  to  the  ineffable  pleasures  of  my  family 
society,  I  become  more  and  more  disgusted  with  the 
jealousies,  the  hatred,  the  rancourous  and  malignant  pas- 
sions of  this  scene,  and  lament  my  having  ever  again 
been  drawn  into  public  view.  Tranquility  is  now  my 
object;  I  have  seen  enough  of  political  honors,  to  know 
they  are  but  splendid  torments;  and  however  one  might 
be  disposed  to  render  services  on  which  many  of  their 
fellow  citizens  might  set  a  value,  yet  when  as  many  would 
deprecate  them  as  a  public  calamity,  one  may  well  enter- 
tain a  modest  doubt  of  their  real  importance  and  feel  the 
impulse  of  duty  to  be  very  weak,"  and  again,  in  another 
of  a  later  date,  1797  he  says, 

"Worn  down  here  with  pursuits  in  which  I  take  no 
delight,  surrounded  by  enemies  and  spies,  catching  and 
perverting  every  word  which  falls  from  my  lips,  or  flows 
from  my  pen,  and  inventing  where  facts  fail  them,  I  pant 
for  that  society,  where  all  is  peace  and  harmony,  where 
we  love  and  are  beloved  by  every  object  we  see.  And  to 
have  that  intercourse  of  soft  affections,  hushed  and  sup- 
pressed by  the  eternal  presence  of  strangers,  goes  very 
hard  indeed,  and  the  harder  when  we  see  that  the  candle 
of  life  is  burning  out  and  the  pleasures  we  lose  are  lost 
forever.  I  long  to  see  the  time  approach  when  I  can  be 
returning  to  you,  tho'  it  be  for  a  short  time  only — these 
are  the  only  times  existence  is  of  any  value  to  me,  con- 


78  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

tinue  then  to  love  me  my  ever  dear  daughter,  and  to  be 
assured,  that  to  yourself,  your  sister  and  those  dear  to 
you  every  thing  in  my  life  is  directed,  ambition  has  no 
hold  upon  me  but  through  you,  my  personal  affections 
would  fix  me  forever  with  you.  Kiss  the  dear  little 
objects  of  our  mutual  love,"  etc.  etc. 

By  these  dear  objects,  I  saw  him  now  surounded.  I 
saw  him  in  the  scenes  for  which  his  heart  had  panted,  at 
the  time  when  others  looked  upon  his  elevated  station 
with  envy,  and  did  not  know  that  these  honors  which  his 
country  lavished  on  him  and  which  they  envied,  were 
splendid  torments,  to  his  unambitious  spirit  and  affec- 
tionate heart.  But  why  then  it  will  be  asked,  did  he 
not  withdraw  from  public  life?  A  satisfactory  answer 
is  often  found  in  his  letters;  in  one  he  says  (it  was  while 
secretary)  that  he  had  made  up  his  mind  to  retire,  that 
he  had  arranged  his  affairs  for  it,  but  contrary  to  all  his 
wishes  he  was  persuaded  by  his  friends  of  the  necessity 
of  remaining,  that  a  retreat  at  that  time  would  be  at- 
tributed to  timidity  or  fear  of  the  attacks  made  by  the 
papers  and  might  ruin  the  party  of  which  he  was  the 
head.  In  one  of  his  letters  he  says — "The  real  difficulty 
is  that  once  being  delivered  into  the  hands  of  others, 
where  feelings  are  friendly  to  the  individual  and  warm 
to  the  public  cause ;  how  to  withdraw  from  them,  without 
leaving  a  dissatisfaction  in  their  minds  and  impressions 
of  pusilanimity  with  the  public."  From  many  other  pas- 
sages of  his  letters,  it  is  evident  that  his  own  wishes  were 
subordinated  to  the  remonstrances  of  his  friends  and  to 
the  wish  of  supporting  the  republican  cause, — on  which 
he  sincerely  and  honestly  believed  the  happiness  of  his 
country  to  depend. 

After  tea,  fruit  as  usual  was  brought,  of  which  he  staid 
to  partake;  the  figs  were  very  fine  and  I  eat  them  with 


i8o9]  FAREWELL   TO   JEFFERSON  79 

greater  pleasure  from  their  having  been  planted  rear'd 
and  attended  by  him  with  peculiar  care,  which  this  year 
was  rewarded  with  an  abundant  crop,  and  of  which  we 
every  day  enjoyed  the  produce. 

Wednesday  morning.  Mrs.  Randolph  was  not  able  to 
come  down  to  breakfast,  and  I  felt  too  sad  to  join  in  the 
conversation.  I  looked  on  every  object  around  me,  all 
was  examined  with  that  attention  a  last  look  inspires ;  the 
breakfast  ended,  our  carriage  was  at  the  door,  and  I  rose 
to  bid  farewell  to  this  interesting  family.  Mrs.  R.  came 
down  to  spend  the  last  minutes  with  us,  As  I  stood  for  a 
moment  in  the  Hall,  Mr.  J.  approached  and  in  the  most 
cordial  manner  urged  me  to  make  another  visit  the  en- 
suing summer,  I  told  him  with  a  voice  almost  choked 
with  tears,  "that  I  had  no  hope  of  such  a  pleasure — this," 
said  I,  raising  my  eyes  to  him,  "is  the  last  time  I  fear  in 
this  world  at  least,  that  I  shall  ever  see  you — But  there  is 
another  world."  I  felt  so  affected  by  the  idea  of  this  last 
sight  of  this  good  and  great  man,  that  I  turned  away  and 
hastily  repeating  my  farewell  to  the  family,  gave  him  my 
hand,  he  pressed  it  affectionately  as  he  put  me  in  the  car- 
riage saying,  "God  bless  you,  dear  madam.  God  bless 
you."  "And  God  bless  you,"  said  I,  from  the  very  bot- 
tom of  my  heart. 

Mr.  Smith  got  in,  the  door  shut  and  we  drove  from 
the  habitation  of  philosophy  and  virtue.  How  rapidly 
did  we  seem  to  descend  that  mountain  which  had  seemed 
so  tedious  in  its  ascent,  and  the  quick  pulsations  I  then 
felt  were  now  changed  to  a  heavy  oppression. 

Yes,  he  is  truly  a  philosopher,  and  truly  a  good  man, 
and  eminently  a  great  one.  Then  there  is  a  tranquility 
about  him,  which  an  inward  peace  could  alone  bestow. 
As  a  ship  long  tossed  by  the  storms  of  the  ocean,  casts 
anchor  and  lies  at  rest  in  a  peaceful  harbour,  he  is  retired 


8o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

from  an  active  and  restless  scene  to  this  tranquil  spot. 
Voluntarily  and  gladly  has  he  resigned  honors  which  he 
never  sought,  and  unwillingly  accepted.  His  actions, 
not  his  words,  preach  the  emptiness  and  dissatisfaction 
attendant  on  a  great  office.  His  tall  and  slender  figure  is 
not  impaired  by  age,  tho'  bent  by  care  and  labour.  His 
white  locks  announce  an  age  his  activity,  strength,  health, 
enthusiasm,  ardour  and  gaiety  contradict.  His  face  owes 
all  its  charm  to  its  expression  and  intelligence;  his  fea- 
tures are  not  good  and  his  complexion  bad,  but  his  coun- 
tenance is  so  full  of  soul  and  beams  with  such  benignity, 
that  when  the  eye  rests  on  his  face,  it  is  too  busy  in  perus- 
ing its  expression,  to  think  of  its  features  or  complexion. 
His  low  and  mild  voice,  harmonizes  with  his  countenance 
rather  than  his  figure.  But  his  manners, — how  gentle, 
how  humble,  how  kind.  His  meanest  slave  must  feel  as 
if  it  were  a  father  instead  of  a  master  who  addressed 
him,  when  he  speaks.  To  a  disposition  ardent,  affection- 
ate and  communicative,  he  joins  manners  timid,  even  to 
bashfulness  and  reserved  even  to  coldness.  If  his  life  had 
not  proved  to  the  contrary  I  should  have  pronounced  him 
rather  a  man  of  imagination  and  taste,  than  a  man  of 
judgement,  a  literary  rather  than  a  scientific  man,  and 
least  of  all  a  politician,  A  character  for  which  nature  never 
seemed  to  have  intended  him,  and  for  which  the  natural 
turn  of  mind,  and  his  disposition,  taste,  and  feeling 
equally  unfit  him.  I  should  have  been  sure  that  this  was 
the  case,  even  had  he  not  told  me  so.  In  an  interesting 
conversation  I  had  one  evening — speaking  of  his  past 
public  and  present  domestic  life — "The  whole  of  my  life," 
said  he,  "has  been  a  war  with  my  natural  taste,  feelings 
and  wishes.  Domestic  life  and  literary  pursuits,  were 
my  first  and  my  latest  inclinations,  circumstances  and  not 
my  desires  lead  me  to  the  path  I  have  trod.     And  like 


i8o9J  MONTPELIER  81 

a  bow  tho  long  bent,  which  when  unstrung  flies  back  to 
its  natural  state,  I  resume  with  delight  the  character  and 
pursuits  for  which  nature  designed  me. 

"The  circumstances  of  our  country,"  continued  he,  "at 
my  entrance  into  life,  were  such  that  every  honest  man 
felt  himself  compelled  to  take  a  part,  and  to  act  up  to  the 
best  of  his  abilities." 

August  4th,  Montpelier,  Wendnesd  even. 
The  sadness  which  all  day  hung  on  my  spirits  was 
instantly  dispelled  by  the  cheering  smile  of  Mrs.  Madison 
and  the  friendly  greeting  of  our  good  President.  It  was 
near  five  oclock  when  we  arrived,  we  were  met  at  the 
door  by  Mr.  M.  who  led  us  in  to  the  dining  room  where 
some  gentlemen  were  still  smoking  segars  and  drinking 
wine.  Mrs.  M.  enter'd  the  moment  afterwards,  and  after 
embracing  me,  took  my  hand,  saying  with  a  smile,  I  will 
take  you  out  of  this  smoke  to  a  pleasanter  room.  She 
took  me  thro'  the  tea  room  to  her  chamber  which  opens 
from  it.  Everything  bespoke  comfort,  I  was  going  to 
take  my  seat  on  the  sopha,  but  she  said  I  must  lay  down 
by  her  on  her  bed,  and  rest  myself,  she  loosened  my  riding 
habit,  took  off  my  bonnet,  and  we  threw  ourselves  on 
her  bed.  Wine,  ice,  punch  and  delightful  pine-apples 
were  immediately  brought.  No  restraint,  no  ceremony. 
Hospitality  is  the  presiding  genius  of  this  house,  and 
Mrs.  M.  is  kindness  personified.  She  enquired  why  I 
had  not  brought  the  little  girls;  I  told  her  the  fear  of 
incomoding  my  friends.  "Oh,"  said  she  laughing,  "I 
should  not  have  known  they  were  here,  among  all  the 
rest,  for  at  this  moment  we  have  only  three  and  twenty 
in  the  house."  "Three  and  twenty,"  exclaimed  I !  "Why 
where  do  you  store  them  ?"  "Oh  we  have  house  room  in 
plenty."     This  I  could  easily  believe,  for  the  house  seemed 


82  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i8oQ 

immense.  It  is  a  large  two  story  house  of  80  or  90  feet 
in  length,  and  above  40  deep.  Mrs.  Cutts  soon  came  in 
with  her  sweet  children,  and  afterwards  Mr.  Madison, 
Cutts,  and  Mr.  Smith.  The  door  opening  into  the  tea 
room  being  open,  they  without  ceremony  joined  their 
wives.  They  only  peeked  in  on  us;  we  then  shut  the 
door  and  after  adjusting  our  dress,  went  out  on  the 
Piazza — (it  is  60  feet  long) .  Here  we  walked  and  talked 
until  called  to  tea,  or  rather  supper,  for  tho'  tea  hour,  it 
was  supper  fare.  The  long  dining  table  was  spread,  and 
besides  tea  and  coffee,  we  had  a  variety  of  warm  cakes, 
bread,  cold  meats  and  pastry.  At  table  I  was  introduced 
to  Mr.  William  Madison,1  brother  to  the  President,  and 
his  wife,  and  three  or  four  other  ladies  and  gentlemen  all 
near  relatives,  all  plain  country  people,  but  frank,  kind, 
warm-hearted  Virginians.  At  this  house  I  realized  being 
in  Virginia,  Mr.  Madison,  plain,  friendly,  communicative, 
and  unceremonious  as  any  Virginia  Planter  could  be — 
Mrs.  Madison,  uniting  to  all  the  elegance  and  polish  of 
fashion,  the  unadulterated  simplicity,  frankness,  warmth, 
and  friendliness  of  her  native  character  and  native  state. 
Their  mode  of  living,  too,  if  it  had  more  elegance  than 
is  found  among  the  planters,  was  characterized  by  that 
abundance,  that  hospitality,  and  that  freedom,  we  are 
taught  to  look  for  on  a  Virginian  plantation.  We  did  not 
sit  long  at  this  meal — the  evening  was  warm  and  we  were 
glad  to  leave  the  table.  The  gentlemen  went  to  the 
piazza,  the  ladies,  who  all  had  children,  to  their  chambers, 
and  I  sat  with  Mrs.  M.  till  bed  time  talking  of  Washing- 
ton. When  the  servant  appeared  with  candles  to  show 
me  my  room,  she  insisted  on  going  up  stairs  with  me, 
assisted  me  to  undress  and  chatted  till  I  got  into  bed. 
How  unassuming,  how  kind  is  this  woman.     How  can 

1  Of  Woodbury  Forest,  about  six  miles  from  Montpelier. 


o    a£> 

v 

c 

i 

o 


i8io]  MRS.    MADISON'S    KINDNESS  83 

any  human  being  be  her  enemy.  Truly,  in  her  there  is 
to  be  found  no  gall,  but  the  pure  milk  of  human  kindness. 
If  I  may  say  so,  the  maid  was  like  the  mistress ;  she  was 
very  attentive  all  the  time  I  was  there,  seeming  as  if  she 
could  not  do  enough,  and  was  very  talkative.  As  her 
mistress  left  the  room,  "You  have  a  good  mistress  Nany," 
said  I,  "Yes,"  answered  the  affectionate  creature  with 
warmth,  "the  best  I  believe  in  the  world, — I  am  sure  I 
would  not  change  her  for  any  mistress  in  the  whole 
country."  The  next  morning  Nany  called  me  to  a  late 
breakfast,  brought  me  ice  and  water,  (this  is  universal 
here,  even  in  taverns)  and  assisted  me  to  dress.  We  sat 
down  between  15  and  20  persons  to  breakfast — and  to  a 
most  excellent  Virginian  breakfast — tea,  coffee,  hot  wheat 
bread,  light  cakes,  a  pone,  or  corn  loaf — cold  ham,  nice 
hashes,  chickens,  etc. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington.]     Sunday  6th,  1810. 

.  .  .  .  Since  we  came,  we  have  seen  a  great  deal 
of  company;  I  went  to  the  drawing  room  one  evening, 
and  spent  a  few  hours  most  charmingly  seeing  and  talk- 
ing to  at  least  50  people  I  had  not  seen  for  a  year,  but  the 
salutations  of  no  one  pleased  me  half  so  well  as  those  of 
Mr.  Quinsey,1  the  moment  he  saw  me,  he  approached  with 
so  smiling  and  friendly  a  countenance  that  I  involun- 
tarily stretched  out  my  hand  which  he  cordially  shook; 
we  conversed  a  long  while  but  the  subject  of  Miss  Lowels 
death  affected  him  so  much  that  he  abruptly  left  me, 
twas  not  long  after,  I  saw  him  approach  Mr.  Smith,  shake 
hands  and  then  stand  and  converse  with  him.     I  cannot 

1  Josiah  Quincy,  of  Massachusetts,  a  bitter  Federalist,  the  first  man  to 
suggest  secession  in  Congress. 


84  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1810 

describe  to  you  my  dear  Maria  the  sensation  of  pleasure 
this  sight  afforded  me,  but  you  who  knew  my  anxiety  on 
the  subject,  may  judge  of  it.  He  told  Mr.  Smith  that 
he  wished  to  ride  out  with  him  to  Sidney  to  collect  petri- 
faction ;  in  fine  having  once  broken  the  ice,  no  shadow  of 
reserve  remained.  The  next  day  Mr  Smith  called  on 
him  and  the  day  after  he  came  here  Mr.  S.  was  not  at 
home  but  he  came  up  to  our  parlour ;  it  was  at  the  moment 
my  alarm  for  Bayard  was  first  excited.  Mrs.  Clay  was 
sitting  with  me  preparing  some  wine-drops,  while  her 
woman  was  heating  water  to  bathe  him.  He  would  not 
sit  long  and  I  have  not  seen  him  since ;  but  if  he  does  not 
again  call,  I  mean  to  send  and  ask  him  to  tea — I  relate 
this  first,  as  the  most  pleasant  circumstance  that  has  oc- 
curred since  my  arrival.  At  the  drawing-room  Fanny 
Clifton  sat  most  of  the  time  by  me,  she  enquired  partic- 
ularly after  you. 

•  •-••« 

After  the  drawing  room  evening  I  did  not  again  leave 
the  house  and  scarcely  the  room,  until  new-years  day, 
when  Mrs.  Clay  persuaded  me  to  go  to  the  levee,  and 
as  on  the  drawing  room  evening,  made  her  nurse  attend 
to  Bayard.  As  for  the  poor  girls,  the  regular  lessons  I 
planned  to  give  them  are  out  of  the  question,  for  as  I 
said  before  Bayard 1  and  company  break  through  all  reg- 
ularity, and  they  have  had  but  one  or  two  lessons;  if 
Mr.  S.  would  let  me  I  should  immediately  send  them  to 
school,  for  under  present  circumstances  joined  to  the 
prospect  before  me,  I  do  not  see  how  I  can  possibly  teach 
them. 

We  have  a  large  company  in  this  house — Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Mumford,2  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Clay,  (Henry  Clay  the  admired 

1  Mrs.  Smith's  son,  who  was  then  an  infant  a  few  months  old. 

2  Gurdon  S.  Mumford,  Representative  from  New  York. 


i8io]        FRIENDSHIP   FOR   MRS.    CLAY  85 

orator,)  and  a  number  of  gentlemen  the  Vice-President, 
and  John  Law1  you  know.  I  have  formed  habits  of 
sociability  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Clay  only — Mrs.  Clay  is  a 
woman  of  strong  natural  sense,  very  kind  and  friendly. 
She  often  brings  work  of  an  evening  into  our  room  and 
in  the  morning  I  go  to  hers — we  help  each  other  dress 
and  she  always  offers  us  seats  in  her  carriage  when  we 
visit  together, — or  go  a  shopping,  and  her  woman  who 
has  been  the  nurse  of  all  her  children,  attends  to  mine 
whenever  I  wish  it.  With  the  rest  I  have  little  inter- 
course except  at  breakfast  and  dinner.  Our  parlour  is 
as  retired  as  if  in  our  own  house.  We  have  our  tea 
table  set  as  regularly  and  as  comfortably  as  at  home,  and 
Mrs.  Wilson  endeavors  in  every  way  to  make  us  com- 
fortable. She  always  sends  up  a  snack  for  the  children 
and  myself  between  dinner  and  breakfast,  and  whenever 
I  want  it  for  supper.  After  the  children  go  to  bed  I 
generally  sew  and  if  I  want  company  I  have  only  to  go 
down  stairs,  where  there  is  generally  a  large  circle.  I 
have  only  passed  one  evening  down  below  and  that  was 
to  play  chess.  We  have  a  great  chess  player  here,  Mr. 
Marke  from  New  York — he  is  invincible.  He  is  a  most 
amiable  young  [man]  and  I  like  him  the  better  for  being 
the  intimate  acquaintance  of  our  friends  in  New  York. 
I  yesterday  morning  visited  Miss  Lansdale,  now  Mrs. 
Sprigg,  her  wedding  will  give  rise  to  a  great  many  parties. 
We  are  asked  to  two  for  the  ensuing  week,  but  I  feel  no 
inclination  to  go. 

Mrs.  Craven  is  a  near  neighbor  and  has  been  already 
very  neighborly.  Poor  Margaret  Wingate  is  still  pur- 
sued by  new  misfortunes.  Her  husband  has  broken 
through  all  arrangements  made  for  him  here  and  gone  to 
New  England  without  any  ones  knowing  when,  or  if  ever 
1  Son  of  Thomas  Law  by  his  first  wife. 


86  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i8n 

he  will  return.  We  yesterday  dined  with  a  large  party  at 
Mr.  Galatin's,  it  was  a  very  pleasant  party  and  it  would 
do  your  heart  good  to  see  Mrs.  Montgomery  so  fat,  and 
rosy,  and  cheerful  and  good  humour'd.  I  never  admired 
or  liked  her  half  as  well. 

I  wish  I  could  do  more  justice  to  your  letters  my  dear 
sisters,  for  this  time  excuse  me  and  I  will  try  and  do  better 
hereafter.  But  I  make  no  promises,  I  have  ever  given  up 
resolutions,  for  I  find  myself  so  irresistibly  carried  down 
the  current  of  circumstance  and  not  piloted  by  reason.  I 
feel  every  way  better  since  our  removal  to  town  and 
never  was  more  sensible  to  the  beneficial  effects  of  society. 
I  had  grown  dull  and  out  of  humour  with  myself,  in  a 
solitude  where  I  had  nothing  to  divert  the  irksome- 
ness  of  indisposition.  Adieu  my  dearest  sisters,  in  every 
mutation,  in  every  vicissitude  I  am  without  change,  yours 
most  affectionately 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,  Summer  of  1811] 
.  .  .  .  Monday.  For  the  last  10  days  I  have  re- 
sumed my  ordinary  occupations  and  feel  as  descending 
from  an  ideal  existence  to  the  realities  of  life.  We  have 
had  many  more  visitors  than  usual,  my  acquaintance  have 
been  very  kind  and  attentive,  but  above  all  the  rest  Mrs. 
Clay.  She  is  what  you  call  a  good  woman,  but  has  no 
qualities  of  mind  to  attract, — none  of  the  heart  to  en- 
dear. She  is  a  most  devoted  mother,  and  to  sew  for  her 
children  her  chief,  almost  exclusive  occupation.  She 
has  no  taste  for  fashionable  company  or  amusements,  and 
is  a  thousand  times  better  pleased,  sitting  in  the  room 
with  all  her  children  round  her,  and  a  pile  of  work  by 
her  side,  than  in  the  most  brilliant  drawing  room.  She 
has  shown  more  affection  and  kindness  of  disposition, 


i8n]  MRS.    CLAY'S   ATTENTIONS  87 

since  my  sickness,  than  I  believed  her  capable  of.  She 
is  always  showing  me  and  mine  some  attention,  takes  me 
out  in  her  carriage  whenever  I  will  go,  wishes  me  to 
be  often  with  her.  Ann  and  Julia  have  just  return'd 
after  passing  a  week  with  her.  She  trim'd  their  bonnets 
for  them  from  her  own  store  of  ribands,  and  bought 
Susan  a  handsome  present  on  her  birth-day.  This  was 
on  Thursday  last  and  was  without  exception  the  most 
agreeable  celebration  we  ever  had.  Mr.  Cutting  in- 
tended to  have  given  us  a  fete  champetre,  at  the  old  Cot- 
tage in  the  afternoon,  and  I  was  to  have  given  the  dinner, 
but  a  showery  morning  disappointed  him.  But  that  the 
abundant  preparations  he  had  made,  might  still  be  as 
much  his  party  as  possible,  I  had  a  table  with  benches 
round  it  in  the  front  Piazza,  to  which  we  removed  after 
dinner  to  eat  our  desert,  and  which  we  called  going  to 
Mrs.  Cutting's  party.  Pine  apples,  oranges,  cakes,  sugar 
plumbs  nuts  figs  &c  &c  adorn'd  with  the  gayest  flowers 
and  lilies  in  abundance ;  to  which  elegant  repast  ( for  such 
it  really  was)  I  added  nothing  but  ice-creams.  Mrs. 
Clay  and  her  six  children,  two  sons  of  Mr.  Lowndes, 
whom  he  has  left  here  at  school,  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cut- 
ting making  20  including  our  family,  were  all  the  com- 
pany. They  came  out  early  and  amused  themselves 
rifling  my  flower  borders,  and  making  wreaths.  Mrs. 
Clay  was  as  much  engaged  as  any  of  the  children  and 
as  much  delighted  and  she  and  I  were  as  gaily  deck'd  as 
the  girls.  The  boys  too  had  their  wreaths,  some  of  oak 
and  some  of  myrtle.  My  dear  Lytleton,1  I  must  call  him 
so,  for  he  feels  like  my  own  son,  quite  charm'd  every  one, 
he  was  the  very  spirit  of  the  frolic  and  we  were  all  so 
familiar,  Mrs.  Clay  calling  him  Lytleton  and  treating  him 
with  the  same  familiarity  as  I  did.  Ann  Clay  is  half  in 
George  Littleton  Kirkpatrick,  her  nephew. 


88  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i8n 

love  with  him.  I  wish  in  all  soberness  time  would  ripen 
this  inclination,  what  a  charming  match  it  would  be. 
She  is  not  too  young  for  him.  Now  Mary1  will  laugh  at 
this  and  at  me.  When  Mr.  Tracy,  (who  was  an  impor- 
tant personage  on  the  occasion)  brought  the  cart  to  the 
door  Lytleton  and  all  the  boys  jump'd  in  it  and  went  to 
the  woods  for  boughs.  L.  drove  furiously  along  to  the  no 
small  delight  of  the  boys  and  soon  return'd  like  the  mov- 
ing wood  in  Macbeth.  The  Piazza  was  soon  transform'd 
into  a  bower, — every  hand  was  busy, — Mrs.  Clay,  Mr. 
Smith  and  all.  When  the  sun  was  completely  excluded, 
the  Pianno  was  placed  at  one  end  of  the  large  piazza  and 
the  sopha  at  the  other,  and  a  table  on  which  the  big  bowl 
(which  is  used  only  on  grand  occasions)  the  birth  day 
cake  crown'd  with  lilies  and  roses  and  fruit  was  placed, 
and  we  drank  punch,  and  eat  cake,  till  they  all  felt  in  a 
good  humour  for  dancing.  Mrs.  Clay  was  the  musician 
and  the  company  with  their  gay  wreaths  in  this  bower 
appear'd  very  pretty  and  romp'd  rather  than  danced  till 
a  late  dinner.  The  day  clos'd  without  finding  any  one 
weary  and  the  little  company  dispersed,  feeling  what  in 
this  world  is  so  uncommon,  that  their  expectations  of 
pleasure  had  been  realized.  Ann  and  Susan  go  into  the 
city  tonight  with  Mrs.  Cutting  to  pass  a  week.  I  spend 
tomorrow  with  Mrs.  Clay,  in  riding  about  and  visiting. 
I  feel  very  sensibly  the  want  of  a  carriage  and  would  as 
Mary  used  to  say  rather  have  our  old  one  than  none. 
This  latter  part  of  my  letter  is  for  her.  So  altho'  you  will 
pay  double  postage,  it  will  be  no  more  than  if  the  sheets 
had  been  separately  directed.  I  wish  my  dear  sister  if 
our  carriage  has  not  left  Newark,  Brother  John2  would 
put  his  horses  in  and  bring  you  here. 

1  Mrs.  Kirkpatrick's  eldest  daughter. 

'John  Murray  Bayard,  the  elder  brother,  who  lived  eight  miles  from 
New  Brunswick. 


i8i3]     THE   BRITISH    NEAR   NEIGHBORS        89 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney]  Tuesday,  July  20,  18 13. 
.  .  .  .  I  every  day  from  the  time  I  received 
Maria's,  intended  writing  to  press  you  to  come  on  and 
pass  a  few  weeks  or  more  with  us  and  to  bring  Fanny 
and  Elizabeth.  I  believed  such  a  jaunt  might  be  highly 
serviceable  to  you  all.  But  it  is  now  out  of  the  question 
and  will  be  so  while  the  British  are  such  near  neighbours 
and  continue  to  menace  us.  Until  the  late  alarm  I  have 
never  been  able  to  realize  our  being  in  a  state  of  war; 
but  now  when  such  active  preparations  are  made,  when  so 
many  of  our  citizens  and  particular  acquaintance  have 
marched  to  meet  the  enemy,  I  not  only  believe  but  feel 
the  unhappy  state  of  our  country.  Mr.  Seaton  and  Mr. 
Gales *  are  both  with  our  troops  at  Warburton,  and  Mrs. 
Seaton  and  Miss  Gales  anxiety  naturally  excites  ours.  It 
is  generally  believed  impossible  for  the  English  to  reach 
the  city,  not  so  much  from  our  force  at  Warburton,  tho' 
that  is  very  large,  as  from  the  natural  impediments ;  the 
river  being  very  difficult  of  navigation.  Every  pre- 
caution has  been  taken  to  ensure  the  safety  of  the  city. 
Fort  Warburton  is  in  a  state  of  perfect  defence  and  our 
troops  are  each  day  augmented  by  hundreds  and  thou- 
sands from  the  adjoining  country  who  come  pouring  in. 
The  presence  of  Genl.  Armstrong  and  Col.  Monroe  ani- 
mates and  invigorates  our  soldiers.  And  our  little  army 
is  full  of  ardour  and  enthusiasm.  Mr.  Gales  and  Seaton 
have  each  been  up  to  look  after  the  paper  and  give  a  most 
interesting  and  animating  picture  of  the  scene.  There  is 
so  little  apprehension  of  danger  in  the  city,  that  not  a 

1  They  were  brothers-in-law  and  edited  The  National  Intelligencer  from 
1812  to  i860,  when  Gales  died.  Gales  acquired  the  paper  from  Mr.  Smith 
in  1810. 


go  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [July 

single  removal  of  person  or  goods  has  taken  place, — a 
number  of  our  friends  have  desired  leave  to  send  their 
trunks  here  and  a  number  have  determined  to  come  them- 
selves, should  the  British  effect  a  passage  by  the  fort,  so 
you  see  we  are  esteemed  quite  out  of  danger.  As  for  our 
enemy  at  home  I  have  no  doubt  that  they  will  if  possible 
join  the  British;  here  we  are,  I  believe  firmly  in  no  dan- 
ger, as  the  aim  of  those  in  the  country  would  be  as 
quickly  as  possible  to  join  those  in  the  city  and  the  few 

scatter'd  s s  about  our  neighbourhood,  could  not 

muster  force  enough  to  venture  on  an  attack.1  We  have 
however  counted  on  the  possibility  of  danger  and  Mr.  S. 
has  procured  pistols  &c  &c  sufficient  for  our  defence,  and 
we  make  use  of  every  precaution  which  we  should  use 
were  we  certain  of  what  we  now  only  reckon  a  possibility. 
In  the  city  and  George  town  the  gentlemen  who  by  their 
age  or  other  circumstances  are  exempted  from  service, 
have  formed  volunteer  companies  both  of  horse  and  foot, 
who  nightly  patrol  the  streets.  The  members  of  con- 
gress have  determined  to  join  the  citizens,  in  case  of  an 
attack  and  there  are  many  old  experienced  officers 
amongst  them.  The  affair  of  Hampton,2  which  I  dis- 
believed until  the  publication  in  the  Intelligencer,  in- 
spires us  with  a  terror  we  should  not  otherwise  have  felt. 
There  were  300  French  men  at  that  attack  and  it  was 
chiefly  these  wretches  who  perpetrated  these  horrors. 
Their  intention  was  to  desert  to  our  side  and  they 
march'd  near  to  our  militia  with  a  view  to  surrender,  but 
were  fired  on  and  so  obliged  to  fight  in  their  own  defence, 
— 20  did  desert  and  are  now  at  the  fort.  The  French 
prisoners  taken  from  the  English  jails,  will  it  is  sup- 
posed, and  the  Irish  likewise  all  desert  the  moment  they 

1  Wherever  there  were  slaves  there  was  terror  of  their  insurrection. 

2  The  village  of  Hampton,  Va.,  was  sacked  June  25,  1813,  by  the  British 
and  given  over  to  pillage  and  rapine  by  Cockburn's  orders. 


i8i3]  FEARS    OF    SLAVES  91 

are  landed.  Mrs.  Seaton  behaves  with  admirable  self 
command,  I  quite  admire  her  composure  and  serenity,  as 
I  am  certain  loving  as  she  loves  her  amiable  husband, 
it  must  require  great  effort.  We  one  and  all  resist  the 
intrusion  of  useless  anxiety  and  alarm.  We  go  on  reg- 
ularly with  our  every  day  occupations.  I  spend  the 
morning  in  my  family  affairs  and  school.  Ann  sits  with 
our  guests  and  after  dinner  we  all  assemble  and  while 
the  rest  sew,  Miss  Gales  reads  some  amusing  book.  If 
we  did  not  resolutely  adhere  to  this  plan  of  occupation  our 
fancy  would  augment  our  fears  and  we  should  be  sad 
enough.  As  it  is  we  are  quite  animated,  each  strength- 
ens the  resolution  of  the  other  and  since  we  have  been  so 
well  provided  with  fire  arms,  my  apprehensions  have 
quite  ceased.  For  those  whom  I  fear'd  are  easily  intimi- 
dated. Mr.  Smith  has  this  morning  gone  in  to  the  Bank, 
and  Mrs.  Seaton  and  Miss  Gales,  to  see  Mr.  Seaton  who 
has  come  up  to  arrange  the  paper.  If  Susan  is  with  you, 
read  or  show  her  this  letter  as  you  think  proper,  or  if  at 
Princeton  and  you  think  it  may  allay  her  anxiety,  please 
to  send  it.  Ann  is  quite  a  Heroine.  She  makes  no  protes- 
tations but  her  cheerfulness  and  freedom  from  unneces- 
sary alarm  shows  that  she  is  not  easily  intimidated. 
She  is  a  dear  good  girl.  I  love  her  every  day  more  and 
more.  And  if  danger  comes,  I  shall  not  think  of  or 
risque  more  for  my  children  than  her.  We  expect  Mrs. 
Clay,  her  sister  Mrs.  Brown,  Mrs.  Cutting  and  many 
others  to  come  to  us  in  case  of  a  serious  alarm.  At 
present  all  the  members  and  citizens  say  it  is  impossible 
for  the  enemy  to  ascend  the  river,  and  our  home  enemy 
will  not  assail  us,  if  they  do  not  arrive.     .     .     . 


92  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1813 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  August  2d,  1813. 

....  An  agreeable  change  in  our  affairs,  has 
produced  a  delightful  change  in  my  feelings.  Mr.  S.  has 
received  an  appointment1  to  a  new  and  most  respectable 
office,  which  will  enable  us  to  pass  our  winters  in  the 
city.  I  cannot  describe  what  a  revolution  it  has  pro- 
duced in  my  feelings.  I  now  feel  no  dread  of  the  winter. 
.  .  .  .  New  scenes,  new  objects,  new  characters,  will 
carry  our  thoughts  and  feelings  abroad;  we  shall  have 
something  to  think  of  and  feel  for  besides  ourselves. 
.  .  .  .  I  expect  in  many  ways  this  change  will  be 
highly  beneficial  to  our  sisters  and  children.  For  Mr. 
Smith  and  myself  we  were  quite  contented  and  happy, 
tho'  both  of  us  still  retain  a  sufficient  relish  for  society, 
to  be  pleased  with  prospects  of  passing  a  few  months  of 
the  year  in  the  city. 

It  was  a  most  unlooked  for  affair,  and  offer'd  by  Mr. 
Madison  in  the  most  flattering  and  obliging  manner.  It 
was  quite  as  much  of  a  surprise  to  Mr.  S.  as  to  myself. 
We  had  laid  all  our  plans  in  the  country  for  the  next  3  or 
4  years,  and  some  serious  regret  mingles  with  the  pleas- 
ure Mr.  Smith  feels.  He  took  very  great  delight  in  his 
rural  occupations  and  was  healthier  and  happier  than  I 
have  ever  known  him.  But  the  interests  of  the  family 
conquered  every  selfish  feeling.     .     .     . 

1  Commissioner  of  the  Revenue.     He  held  the  office  till  it  was  abolished 
by  law. 


i8i4]  G.    W.    CAMPBELL'S    TALENT  93 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Feb.  13th,  18 14. 

.  .  .  .  Yesterday  Mrs.  Clay  passed  the  day  with 
us.  She  brought  her  children, — in  the  evening  some  gen- 
tlemen dropped  in  and  we  were  unusually  gay,  the  chil- 
dren danced,  Mrs.  Clay  and  Mr.  Taylor1  sang  for  them 
while  they  danced,  then  Mr.  Smith  and  Mr.  Fisk2  played 
checkers,  Ann  and  Mrs.  Stevens  chess,  Susan  and  I 
sewed, — this  easy,  social,  gay  manner  of  passing  the  eve- 
ning is  better  than  a  ball.  After  the  children  were  tired 
of  dancing,  Mr.  Taylor  (of  New  York)  took  up  Mar- 
mion  which  lay  beside  him,  and  read  the  first  introduc- 
tion, with  all  the  enthusiasm  of  a  poet,  which  I  am  told 
he  is.  You  will  occasionally  see  his  speeches  in  the  paper 
and  will  judge  whether  the  talents  ascribed  him,  are 
justly  so  or  not.  He  is  by  far  the  most  agreeable  new 
acquaintance  we  have  made.  All  our  new  appointments 
have  been  surprises.  8  years  ago  G.  W.  Campbell3  ad- 
dressed Eliza  Bell,  who  rejected  him.  She  was  very  am- 
bitious and  he  then  an  obscure  member  of  Congress.  Mr. 
S.  then  said,  If  it  is  greatness  she  desires,  she  will  repent 
her  refusal,  for  I  predict  that  G.  W.  C.  will  attain  great 
eminence,  and  may  one  day  be  our  President.  This  he 
said  from  an  intimate  knowledge  of  his  talents.  He  has 
ever  since  silently  but  surely  been  adding  to  his  influ- 
ence and  usefulness  and  has  for  some  time  been  looked 
up  to  as  the  head  of  the  republican  party  in  the  senate. 

Mr.  Bacon  is  an  old  acquaintance  of  ours,  he  is  a  man 
of  great  financial  talents  and  always  very  respectable  on 

1  John  W.  Taylor,  a  Representative,  subsequently  Speaker  of  the  House. 

2  Jonathan  Fisk,  of  Newburgh,  N.  Y.,  a  Representative. 

3  Of  Tennessee.     He  had  just  resigned  from  the  Senate  to  be  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury. 


94  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

the  floor  of  congress.1  Mr.  Rush2  has  risen  early  and  un- 
expectedly, but  I  am  mistaken  if  he  does  not  aspire  to  still 
higher  dignities.  His  manners  are  extremely  concilia- 
tory and  popular,  his  father's  over  again.  The  dear 
children  are  all  well.  Susan  and  Julia  I  fear  make  little 
progress  at  school,  dancing  excepted.  We  have  no  good 
schools  here.     .     .     . 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington.  March  13,  18 14. 
.  .  .  .  When  I  first  came  to  the  city,  I  found  my- 
self almost  as  much  a  stranger  as  I  did  12  yrs  ago,  and 
when  I  recalled  to  mind  that  society  which  had  so  often 
circled  round  our  fireside  and  beheld  them  scatter'd  over 
the  world,  separated  by  the  waves  of  the  Atlantic,  some 
by  the  ocean  of  eternity,  sadness  and  sorrow  mingled  with 
the  pleasure  of  recollection.  Altho'  destitute  of  those 
strong  and  tender  ties  with  which  affection  and  friend- 
ship bind  me  to  other  places,  Washington  possesses  a 
peculiar  interest  and  to  an  active,  reflective,  and  am- 
bitious mind,  has  more  attractions  than  any  other  place 
in  America.  This  interest  is  daily  increasing,  and  with 
the  importance  and  expansion  of  our  nation,  this  is  the 
theatre  on  which  its  most  interesting  interests  are  dis- 
cuss'd,  by  its  ablest  sons,  in  which  its  greatest  characters 
are  called  to  act,  it  is  every  year,  more  and  more  the 
resort  of  strangers  from  every  part  of  the  union,  and  all 
foreigners  of  distinction  who  visit  these  states,  likewise 
visit  this  city.  There  are  here  peculiar  facilities  for 
forming  acquaintances,  for  a  stranger  cannot  be  long 
here,  before  it  is  generally  known.     The  house  of  repre- 

1  Ezekiel  Bacon,  of  Massachusetts,  Comptroller  of  the  Treasury. 

2  Richard  Rush,  the  Attorney  General,  son  of  Benjamin  Rush,  the  Signer. 


OJ 


o 
o 

i8 


T3     co 


i8i4]  THE    "DRAWING    ROOM"  95 

sentatives  is  the  lounging  place  of  both  sexes,  where  ac- 
quaintance is  as  easily  made  as  at  public  amusements. 
And  the  drawing-room, — that  centre  of  attraction, — af- 
fords opportunity  of  seeing  all  these  whom  fashion, 
fame,  beauty,  wealth  or  talents,  have  render'd  celebrated. 
It  has  this  winter  been  generally  very  much  crowded, 
seldom  has  the  company  been  less  than  2  or  300,  and  gen- 
erally more.  I  cannot  tell  you  what  an  interest  is  im- 
parted to  this  assembly  by  the  entrance  of  some  celebrated 
personage.  I  was  there  the  evening  of  Perry's  first  ap- 
pearance and  had  some  interesting  conversation.  The 
last  evening  we  were  there,  the  room  was  empty,  there 
were  not  above  50  or  60  persons, — after  tea  we  adjourned 
to  the  music  room,  which  is  comparatively  small,  3  or  4 
sophas  surrounded  the  fire  and  we  form'd  quite  a  social 
circle.  I  have  not  this  winter  passed  a  more  agreeable 
evening.  Ann,  who  has  been  long  kept  at  home,  was 
very  much  admired  and  really  looked  very  beautiful. 
Mr.  Ogilvie,  who  is  quite  the  Ton  here  and  Mr.  Forsythe,1 
the  universal  favorite  of  the  wise  men,  and  fashionable 
women,  were  quite  devoted  to  her.  For  myself,  seated  in 
one  corner  of  a  sopha,  conversation  with  4  or  5  agreeable 
and  intelligent  men  pass'd  the  time  most  pleasantly  away. 
Mr.  Forsythe  promises  to  be  one  of  our  most  distin- 
guished men,  he  is  now  allowed  to  be  the  greatest  orator 
on  the  floor  of  congress.  You  may  perhaps  recollect  him 
and  his  brother  at  Princeton.  I  knew  him  there  and  we 
have  lately  renewed  our  acquaintance.  He  is  a  young 
man  of  genius,  fine  taste,  a  most  animated,  engaging, 
prepossessing  countenance ;  most  attractive  manners,  Ann 
says  winning.  I  am  afraid  he  will  be  spoiled, — he  is  so 
much  carress'd  and  admired,  particularly  by  the  girls, 

1  John  Forsyth  was  then  a  Representative  from  Georgia,  later  a  Senator, 
Minister  to  Spain  and  Secretary  of  State  under  General  Jackson. 


96  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

who  think  because  he  is  a  married  man,  they  need  not 
conceal  the  pleasure  his  charming  conversation  affords. 
The  debates  in  congress  have  this  winter  been  very  at- 
tractive to  the  ladies.  Mr.  Ingersol,1  is  among  the  num- 
ber of  orators  most  admired.  But  Mr.  Pinckney2  car- 
ries the  palm  from  all  the  congressional  orators,  Forsythe 
excepted.  His  resignation  of  his  office,  seems  to  have 
added  to  his  popularity,  and  animated  him  in  his  pro- 
fessional pursuits.  Never  have  his  talents  been  displayed 
with  such  power  and  brilliancy.  Curiosity  led  me 
against  my  judgement,  to  join  the  female  crowd  who 
throng  the  [Supreme]  court  room.  A  place  in  which  I 
think  women  have  no  business.  The  effect  of  female 
admiration  and  attention  has  been  very  obvious,  but  it 
is  a  doubt  to  me  whether  it  has  been  beneficial,  indeed  I 
believe  otherwise.  A  member  told  me  he  doubted  not, 
there  had  been  much  more  speaking  on  this  account,  and 
another  gentleman  told  me,  that  one  day  Mr.  Pinckney 
had  finished  his  argument  and  was  just  about  seating  him- 
self when  Mrs.  Madison  and  a  train  of  ladies  enter'd, — he 
recommenced,  went  over  the  same  ground,  using  fewer 
arguments,  but  scattering  more  flowers.  And  the  day 
I  was  there  I  am  certain  he  thought  more  of  the  female 
part  of  his  audience  than  of  the  court,  and  on  concluding, 
he  recognized  their  presence,  when  he  said,  "He  would 
not  weary  the  court,  by  going  thro  a  long  list  of  cases  to 
prove  his  argument,  as  it  would  not  only  be  fatiguing  to 
them,  but  inimical  to  the  laws  of  good  taste,  which  on 
the  present  occasion,  (bowing  low)  he  wished  to  obey." 
The  court  was  crowded  while  he  spoke ;  the  moment  he  sat 
down,  the  whole  audience  arose,  and  broke  up,  as  if  the 

Charles  I.  Ingersoll,  of  Philadelphia,  a  Representative. 

2  William  Pinkney,  of  Maryland  (Mrs.  Smith  spells  the  name  wrong;  the 
Pinckneys  being  the  South  Carolina  family),  had  just  resigned  the  Attorney 
Generalship. 


i8i4]  PROMINENCE    OF    WOMEN  97 

court  had  adjourn'd.  The  women  here  are  taking  a  sta- 
tion in  society  which  is  not  known  elsewhere.  On  every 
public  occasion,  a  launch,  an  oration,  an  inauguration,  in 
the  court,  in  the  representative  hall,  as  well  as  the  draw- 
ing room,  they  are  treated  with  mark'd  distinction.  Last 
night  Mr.  Ogilvie  while  he  censured  the  frivolous,  ele- 
vated the  rest  of  our  sex,  not  only  to  an  equality  but  I 
think  to  a  superiority  to  the  other  sex.  I  think  the  man- 
ners here  different  from  those  in  other  places.  At  the 
drawing  room,  at  our  parties,  few  ladies  ever  sit.  Our 
rooms  are  always  so  crowded,  that  few  more  could  find 
a  place  in  the  rooms,  the  consequence  is,  the  ladies  and 
gentlemen  stand  and  walk  about  the  rooms,  in  mingled 
groups,  which  certainly  produces  more  ease,  freedom  and 
equality  than  in  these  rooms  where  the  ladies  sit  and  wait 
for  gentlemen  to  approach  to  converse. 

Tuesday  morning.  I  resume  my  pen,  and  as  Mr. 
Stevens  who  was  here  last  evening  inform'd  me  he  was 
going  in  a  few  days,  I  will  scribble  on,  hoping  to  amuse, 
even  at  the  risque  of  wearying  you.  Mr.  Ogilvie  has  this 
moment  left  us,  he  found  Susan,  Ann,  Mrs.  Cutting  and 
myself  busied  with  our  needles ;  he  brought  a  new  work 
of  Lord  Byron's  the  "Bride  of  Abydos," — he  would  not 
read  it  to  us,  but  presented  it  to  Ann  who  in  return  is 
hemming  him  some  cravats.  I  think  you  would  have 
agreed  with  him  in  his  criticisms,  which  tho'  it  approved 
the  harmony  and  fancy  of  the  poet,  condemn'd  the  princi- 
ples, sentiments,  misanthrophy  and  morbid  sensibility  of 
the  man.  In  speaking  of  true  sensibility,  (that  which 
feels  for  others  as  for  ourselves)  he  said  it  was  like  the 
bee,  which  tho'  it  cull'd  sweets  from  everything  in  crea- 
tion, carried  a  sting  with  it.  Last  evening  after  dining 
en  famille  at  the  Presidents  he  came  here  with  Mr.  Jones,1 

1  Probably  Charles  Jones. 


98  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

one  of  our  most  respectable  citizens,  in  wealth,  talents 
and  station.  John  G.  Jackson,1  Mr.  Stevens  and  other 
gentlemen  were  here.  The  conversation  took  a  charm- 
ing turn  and  it  was  half  past  twelve,  e'er  we  thought  it 
ten.  Mr.  O.  never  recites  in  private,  as  he  used  to,  but 
his  witicisms  are  instructive  and  amusing.  I  know  not 
whether  he  can  be  called  a  man  of  original  genius,  but 
he  is  certanly  one  of  highly  cultivated  taste,  a  man  of 
great  research,  not  only  in  classical  learning,  but  in  nat- 
ural history,  philosophy  and  morals.  Whatever  his  own 
opinions  are,  respecting  religion  I  know  not,  but  I  have 
never  heard  him  in  public  or  private,  utter  a  sentiment 
that  could  wound  or  offend  the  most  pious.  We  are 
going  this  evening  to  hear  his  recitations.  How  much 
more  rational  these  amusements  than  our  balls  or  parties. 
He  receives  the  most  flattering  attentions  and  is  not  a 
day  disengaged.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Brookville.  [Md.,]  August,  [1814.] 
On  Sunday  we  received  information  that  the  British 
nad  debark'd  at  Benedict.  They  seem'd  in  no  haste  to 
approach  the  city,  but  gave  us  time  to  collect  our  troops. 
The  alarm  was  such  that  on  Monday  a  general  removal 
from  the  city  and  George  Town  took  place.  Very  few 
women  or  children  remain'd  in  the  city  on  Tuesday  eve- 
ning, altho'  the  accounts  then  received  were  that  the 
enemy  were  retreating.  Our  troops  were  eager  for  an 
attack  and  such  was  the  cheerful  alacrity  they  display'd, 
that  a  universal  confidence  reign'd  among  the  citizens  and 
people.  Few  doubted  our  conquering.  On  Tuesday  we 
sent  off  to  a  private  farm  house  all  our  linen,  clothing  and 
1  Representative  from  Virginia. 


i8i4]         FLIGHT    FROM    WASHINGTON  99 

other  movable  property,  in  the  afternoon  Dr.  Bradley's 
family  came  from  the  city  and  took  tea  with  us, — the 
Dr.  said  several  citizens  from  the  camp  brought  informa- 
tion of  the  enemy's  remaining  quiet  at  N.  Marlborough, 
but  that  3  of  the  volunteer  companies,  ,*  David- 
sons and  Peters  were  order'd  to  attack  the  Pickets  and 

draw  the  B on  to  a  general  engagement.     This  was 

the  last  news ;  until  we  were  roused  on  Tuesday  night  by 
a  loud  knocking, — on  the  opening  of  the  door,  Willie 
Bradley  called  to  us,  "The  enemy  are  advancing,  our  own 
troops  are  giving  way  on  all  sides  and  are  retreating  to 
the  city.  Go,  for  Gods  sake  go."2  He  spoke  in  a  voice 
of  agony,  and  then  flew  to  his  horse  and  was  out  of  sight 
in  a  moment.  We  immediately  rose,  the  carriage  and 
horses  were  soon  ready,  we  loaded  a  wagon  with  what 
goods  remained  and  about  3  oclock  left  our  house  with 
all  our  servants,  the  women  we  sent  to  some  private  farm 
houses  at  a  safe  distance,  while  we  pursued  our  course. 
I  felt  no  alarm  or  agitation,  as  I  knew  the  danger  was  not 
near.  I  even  felt  no  distress  at  the  idea  of  forsaking  our 
home.  I  could  not  realize  the  possibility  of  the  B.  gain- 
ing possession  of  the  city,  or  of  our  army  being  defeated. 
We  travel'd  very  slowly  and  as  it  was  dark  I  walk'd  part 
of  the  way.  Ann  was  equally  composed.  At  sunrise  we 
stop'd  to  breakfast  at  Miss  Carrol's  and  then  pursued  our 
journey.  The  girls  were  quite  delighted  with  our  flight, 
novelty  has  such  charms  at  their  age,  that  even  the  ex- 
change of  comfort  and  peace,  for  suffering  and  distress, 
has  its  charms.  Even  for  myself,  I  felt  animated,  in- 
vigorated, willing  to  encounter  any  hardship,  calmly  to 
meet  any  danger,  patiently  to  bear  any  difficulty.  I  suf- 
fer'd  considerable  pain  during  the  ride,  and  fear'd  every 
moment  being  taken  ill,  but  happily  I  was  not,  and  we 
1  Illegible.  2The  battle  took  place  August  24. 


ioo  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

all  reach'd  this  place  at  one  oclock  in  perfect  health.  We 
received  a  most  kind  reception  from  Mrs.  Bently,  and 
excellent  accommodations.  The  appearance  of  this  vil- 
lage is  romantic  and  beautiful,  it  is  situated  in  a  little 
valley  totally  embosom'd  in  woody  hills,  with  a  stream 
flowing  at  the  bottom  on  which  are  mills.  In  this  se- 
cluded spot  one  might  hope  the  noise,  or  rumour  of  war 
would  never  reach.  Here  all  seems  security  and  peace ! 
Happy  people  may  you  never  be  obliged  to  fly  from  this 
peaceful  spot,  which  now  affords  so  hospitable  a  shelter 
to  our  poor  citizens ! 

Thursday  morning.  This  morning  on  awakening  we 
were  greeted  with  the  sad  news,  that  our  city  was  taken, 
the  bridges  and  public  buildings  burnt,  our  troops  flying 
in  every  direction.  Our  little  army  totally  dispersed. 
Good  God,  what  will  be  the  event !  This  moment  a  troop 
of  horse  have  enter'd,  they  were  on  the  field  of  battle, 
but  not  engag'd.  Major  Ridgely 1  their  commander,  dis- 
approving Genl.  Winder's  order,  refused  to  obey,  left  the 
army  and  is  taking  his  troops  home.  E.  Riggs,  who  was 
likewise  there  has  given  us  a  sad  detail.  He  was  in 
Loughbourough's,  who  with  ten  men  form'd  a  recon- 
noitering  party,  and  Riggs  was  employed  in  carrying 
messages  from  Winder.  His  account  was  that  the  first 
skirmish  was  near  Marlborough,  where  Peters,  David- 
son's and  Strul's  ( ?)  companies  were  ordered  to  attack 
the  enemies  picquets,  but  on  finding  how  inefficient  their 
force  were,  order'd  to  retreat,  which  they  did  in  great  dis- 
order. Winder  finding  the  enemy  marching  on  the  Bla- 
densburg  turnpike,  forsook  the  posts  he  had  taken  and 
march'd  towards  the  city,  where  they  station'd  them- 
selves on  the  hills  near  Bladensburg  bridge.  The  enemy 
march'd  on  in  solid  column  and  attack'd  with  coolness, 
1  One  of  the  Maryland  militia  officers. 


i8i4]  CAPTURE   OF    WASHINGTON  101 

and  order.  The  5th  regiment  from  Baltimore  com- 
menced the  attack  and  stood  their  ground  firmly,  but  for 
a  short  time  only,  they  were  almost  destroy'd  and  our 
whole  troops  gave  way  and  began  a  disor'd  retreat.  The 
President  who  was  on  the  ground,  escap'd  and  has  gone 
into  Virginia.  Winder  with  all  the  men  he  can  collect 
are  at  the  court  house.  He  has  directed  our  poor  broken 
militia  to  make  the  best  of  their  way  to  Baltimore.  Every 
hour  the  poor  wearied  and  terrified  creatures  are  passing 
by  the  door.  Mrs.  Bently  kindly  invites  them  in  to  rest 
and  refresh.  Major  Ridgely's  troop  of  horse  all  break- 
fasted in  town,  that  not  a  man  was  left  to  breakfast  in  the 
tavern.  Ann  and  I  hasten'd  to  assist  Mrs.  B.  in  getting 
their  breakfast, — and  Julia  and  Susan  wanted  to  do 
something,  help'd  to  set  the  table,  &c. 

Noon.  We  were  much  alarm'd  by  Mr.  Milligan,  who 
called  and  told  Mr.  Smith,  Genl.  Winder  had  ordered  him 
to  come  here  for  an  express,  that  Montgomery  C.  H. 
was  burnt  by  the  British,  who  were  then  on  their  march 
for  Frederick.  But  a  person  who  knew  him  assured  us 
he  was  crazy,  his  account  afterwards  proved  untrue,  as 
a  great  many  have  passed  since.  Our  men  look  pale 
and  feeble  but  more  with  affright  than  fatigue, — they 
had  thrown  away  their  muskets  and  blankets. 

Just  as  we  were  going  to  dinner,  a  tremendous  gust 
arose,  it  has  broken  the  trees  very  much,  in  the  midst  of 
it,  a  wagon  came  to  the  door  with  a  family  going  they 
knew  not  whither.  Poor  wanderers.  Oh  how  changed 
are  my  feelings,  my  confidence  in  our  troops  is  gone,  they 
may  again  be  rallied,  but  it  will  require  a  long  apprentice- 
ship to  make  them  good  soldiers.  Oh  my  sister  how 
gloomy  is  the  scene.  I  do  not  suppose  Government  will 
ever  return  to  Washington.  All  those  whose  property 
was  invested  in  that  place,  will  be  reduced  to  poverty. 


io2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

Mr.  Smith  had  invested  a  large  portion  of  his  in  bridge 
stock, — both  the  bridges  are  destroy'd, — it  serves  to  be- 
guile the  time  to  write,  so  my  dear  sister  I  will  write  a 
kind  of  journal  to  you,  and  send  it  when  I  can.  I  wish 
you  to  keep  it.  If  better  times  come,  it  will  serve  to 
remind  me  of  these. 

Thursday  evening.  Our  anxiety  has  been  kept  alive 
the  whole  day.  Our  poor  men  are  coming  in  some  two 
or  three,  sometimes  a  dozen  at  a  time,  just  now  another 
troop  of  horse  have  come  in,  they  have  not  been  in  the 
engagement,  as  they  did  not  arrive  until  a  retreat  had 
been  order'd.  Mr.  Carr  one  of  the  clerks  of  the  Bank 
was  here  just  now  and  has  given  us  the  most  correct 
account  we  have  yet  had.  Our  position  was  a  bad  one, 
so  placed  that  neither  the  artillery  or  cavalry  could  act. 
Barney1  took  a  position  on  a  hill,  the  enemy  had  to  pass 
and  as  they  ascended  rak'd  them  prodigiously  but  they 
never  halted  one  moment,  but  marched  on  in  solid  mass, 
disregarding  the  dead  bodies  that  fell  before  them.  Bar- 
ney and  his  men  did  not  leave  their  cannons  until  they 
were  within  5  yrds,  then  spik'd  them  and  retreated, — 
Barney  badly  wounded.  They  [the  enemy]  never  left 
the  turnpike  but  enter'd  the  city  after  our  retreating 
army.  They  first  march'd  to  the  navy  yard  which  is 
wholly  consumed ;  then  to  Capitol  Hill.  They  had  great 
difficulty  in  firing  the  capitol,  several  houses  on  the  hill 
were  burnt  by  cinders  from  the  Capitol,  but  none  by  de- 
sign, the  President's  house,  the  Potomac  bridge,  and  all 
the  other  public  buildings.  Mr.  Lee  went  to  their  camp 
at  Marlborough  (as  a  citizen  unmolested)  conversed  with 
the  officers,  several  of  whom  he  had  known  in  London. 
They  told  him  that  resistance  would  be  vain;  that  in- 

1  Captain  Joshua  Barney,  U.  S.  N.,  was  the  only  man  who  reaped  glory 
in  this,  the  greatest  disgrace  to  American  arms. 


i8i4]        DESTRUCTION    OF    THE    CITY  103 

stead  of  7000,  they  wished  we  had  40,000  militia,  as  it 
would  make  the  greater  confusion.  They  bade  Mr.  Lee 
tell  the  citizens  that  private  property  would  not  be  in- 
jured, if  the  houses  were  not  deserted,  or  private  persons 
molested,  that  they  intended  to  destroy  the  public  build- 
ings and  shipping,  and  then  to  march  to  Baltimore  on 
one  side  while  Lord  Hill  with  his  fleet  would  attack  it 
by  water.  I  left  our  house  with  reluctance,  but  when  I 
urged  Mr.  Smith  to  let  me  remain  to  protect  the  house, 
he  would  not  hear  of  it,  his  duty  called  him  away,  and 
my  situation  being  so  critical,  he  said  no  consideration 
would  induce  him  to  leave  me,  for  altho'  the  troops  when 
under  their  officers  might  behave  well,  yet  small  parties 
or  drunken  soldiers  might  alarm  or  injure  me  in  my 
present  situation.  And  Ann  declared  she  would  not 
leave  me  if  she  were  to  die  by  my  side.  I  had  therefore 
to  yield.  I  am  afraid  the  consequence  of  leaving  the 
house  empty  will  be  its  destruction.  Our  house  in  the 
city  too  is  unprotected  and  contains  our  most  valuable 
furniture.  In  a  week  more  and  we  may  be  penniless! 
for  I  count  little  on  the  continuance  of  Mr.  S.'s  salary. 
God  only  knows  when  the  executive  government  will 
again  be  organized.  But  I  can  say  with  truth,  the  in- 
dividual loss  of  property,  has  not  given  me  a  moment's 
uneasiness.  But  the  state  of  our  country,  has  wrung 
tears  of  anguish  from  me.  I  trust  it  will  only  be  mo- 
mentary. We  are  naturally  a  brave  people  and  it  was 
not  so  much  fear,  as  prudence  which  caused  our  retreat. 
Too  late  they  discovered  the  dispreparation  of  our  troops. 
The  enemy  were  3  to  1.  Their  army  composed  of  con- 
quering veterans,  ours  of  young  mechanics  and  farmers, 
many  of  whom  had  never  before  carried  a  musket.  But 
we  shall  learn  the  dreadful,  horrid  trade  of  war.  And 
they  will  make  us  a  martial  people,  for  never,  never  will 


104  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

Americans  give  up  their  liberty.  But  before  that  time 
comes,  what  sufferings,  what  reverses,  what  distress 
must  be  suffer'd.  Already,  in  one  night,  have  hundreds 
of  our  citizens  been  reduced  from  affluence  to  poverty,  for 

it  is  not  to  be  expected  W will  ever  again  be  the 

seat  of  Govt.     Last  night  the  woods  round  the  city  and 

G.  T were  filled  with  women  and  children  and  old 

men  and  our  flying  troops.  One  poor  woman,  after  wan- 
dering all  night,  found  at  day  light  she  wander'd  10  miles, 
— a  lady  in  our  neighbourhood,  the  wife  of  one  of  Mr. 
S.'s  clerks,  went  out  of  her  senses,  her  son  was  in  the 
army.  Mrs.  Genl.  Mason,1  that  lovely  woman  whom  you 
knew,  is  likewise  laying  dangerously  ill.  Her  husband 
was  in  the  engagement  and  her  anxiety  has  render'd  a 
common  fever  dangerous.  I  am  going  tomorrow  to  see 
her. 

Night,  10  oclock.  The  street  of  this  quiet  village, 
which  never  before  witnessed  confusion,  is  now  fill'd  with 
carriages  bringing  out  citizens,  and  Baggage  waggons 
and  troops.  Mrs.  Bently's  house  is  now  crowded,  she 
has  been  the  whole  evening  sitting  at  the  supper  table, 
giving  refreshment  to  soldiers  and  travellers.  I  suppose 
every  house  in  the  village  is  equally  full.  I  never  saw 
more  benevolent  people.  "It  is  against  our  principles," 
said  she  this  morning,  "to  have  anything  to  do  with  war, 
but  we  receive  and  relieve  all  who  come  to  us."  The 
whole  settlement  are  quakers.  The  table  is  just  spread 
for  the  4th  or  5th  time,  more  wanderers  having  just 
enter'd. 

I  know  not  when  you  will  get  this  letter.  I  suppose 
the  mail  will  be  impeded.  How  is  Maria, — is  N.  Y. 
menaced.     My  health  is  improved,  thank  a  kind  Provi- 

1  Wife  of  Armistead  Thomson  Mason,  then  Colonel  of  a  cavalry  regiment. 
He  was  killed  in  a  duel  by  his  brother-in-law  John  M.  McCarty.  They 
fought  with  muskets  at  six  paces  on  the  famous  Bladensburg  duelling  ground. 


i8i4]  ILLNESS    OF    MRS.    MASON  105 

dence,  the  event  so  dreaded  has  not  taken  place  and  I 
now  begin  to  think  I  shall  continue  well.  I  have  not 
yet  read  this  letter.  I  know  not  what  I  have  written.  I 
thought  you  would  be  anxious  for  intelligence,  for  tho' 
you  were  no  friend  to  Washington,  yet  the  recent  event 
is  interesting  to  the  nation.  The  enemy  are  in  the  centre 
of  union ! 

I  will  now  bid  you  good  night, — let  Maria  and  Susan 
Smith  know  we  are  safe.  Susan  particularly, — she  will 
be  miserable. 

Farewell,  dearest  sister,  God  grant  this  letter  may  con- 
tain more  news,  than  I  may  ever  have  occasion  to  write 
again.     Farewell, 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Brookville,  August.     [1814]. 

Saturday  morning.  On  Thursday  evening  I  closed 
my  letter  to  you.  The  next  morning  soon  after  break- 
fast I  went  to  see  Mrs.  Mason.  She  had  found  refuge 
in  a  farm  house,  with  a  poor  but  respectable  family,  about 
4  miles  from  this  place.  She  had  her  3  eldest  daughters 
with  her  and  2  servant  maids.  She  was  very  ill,  of  a 
highly  inflamatory  billious  fever.  When  I  enter'd  her 
chamber  her  spirits  were  much  affected.  She  was  too 
ill  to  talk,  but  when  I  offered  to  stay,  gladly  accepted  the 
offer.  She  felt  cheerless  and  desponding,  had  no  confi- 
dence in  her  young  physician  or  servants,  who  indeed 
seem'd  very  ignorant.  She  thought  herself  in  danger, 
if  not  of  her  life,  yet  of  derangement  of  mind,  so  con- 
tinued and  violent  was  the  pain  in  her  head.  I  imme- 
diately took  on  the  functions  of  a  nurse  and  being  much 
accustomed  to  her  disease,  I  soon  succeeded  in  procuring 
her  entire  relief  from  the  pain  of  her  head,  and  other 


106  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

alarming  symptoms.  I  did  not  leave  her  a  moment  dur- 
ing the  day  and  sat  up  part  of  the  night.  Dr.  Worthing- 
ton,  her  physician  arrived.  He  distress'd  me  excessively 
by  his  conversation.  He  exulted  in  the  defeat  of  our 
army  in  the  capture  of  our  city.  "Did  I  not  tell  this," 
said  he,  "I  suppose,  Mrs.  Smith,  your  wise  men  will  now 
believe  a  standing  army  a  necessary  thing  and  a  navy  in 
the  bargain."  "If  they  do"  (I  answer'd)  "they  will  cer- 
tainly aim  at  establishing  them,  for  however  mistaken 
in  judgement,  be  assured  sir,  in  all  their  measures,  the 
administration  have  honestly  and  sincerely  endeavour'd 
to  promote  the  welfare  of  their  country.  It  was  be- 
lieved, and  all  history  has  proved  it  to  be  so,  that  a  stand- 
ing army  is  an  instrument  of  despotism;  but  if  our  lib- 
erties cannot  be  preserved  without ;  the  lesser  evil  will  be 
chosen, — the  risk  run."  "I  do  not  allow,"  said  he,  "a 
standing  army  to  be  the  instrument  of  despotism,  but  I 
allow  it  to  be  inseparable  from  a  monarchy."  "I  am  not 
competent  to  discuss  such  questions,  Sir,  but  I  beg  at  such 
a  moment  as  this,  you  will  not  thus  seem  to  rejoice  at 
what  every  friend  of  his  country  must  mourn  over." 
The  tears  started  in  my  eyes,  and  seeing  my  distress 
silenced  him  at  the  time,  tho'  every  now  and  then  his 
evident  satisfaction  broke  forth.  Surely  it  is  not  possi- 
ble that  such  is  the  disposition  of  all  the  federal  party,  no, 
no,  few  I  hope  could  speak  as  he  did.  On  Saturday 
morning  Genl.  Mason  arrived,  this  was  joyful  tidings  for 
his  poor  wife.  I  left  them  together  and  did  not  see  the 
Genl.  until  breakfast.  He  appeared  excessively  har- 
rass'd.  He  and  Mr.  Rush  had  never  left  the  President 
since  our  disgraceful  retreat.  He  had  crossed  over  with 
him  into  Virginia,  where  he  had  collected  troops  and 
2000  brave  fellows  then  following  his  steps  to  our  poor 
city,  commanded  by  Genl.  Hungerford  a  revolutionary 


i8i4]   THE   PRESIDENT  AT   BROOKVILLE     107 

officer.  Wherever  they  pass'd,  they  as  well  as  our  flying 
forces  were  received  with  the  most  affectionate  kindness, 
not  only  at  large  houses  but  at  every  hovel ;  the  women 
came  out  with  milk,  bread,  spirits,  or  something  to  offer 
the  weary  soldiers  and  to  press  them  to  rest  and  refresh. 
Everywhere  he  met  indignation  at  the  invading  force  and 
an  alacrity  to  march  against  them,  but  the  most  prominent 
sentiment  was  mortification  at  the  precipitate  retreat  of 
our  army.  The  President  and  himself  had  arrived  the 
night  before  and  staid  at  Mrs.  Bently's  where  we  were. 
Mrs.  Mason  begged  him  not  to  stay  one  moment  on  her 
account,  but  urged  him  to  depart  that  he  might  to  the 
utmost  serve  his  country.  After  breakfast  he  return'd 
to  Brookville,  soon  after  Mr.  Smith  sent  for  me  and  I  was 
obliged  to  leave  this  amiable  woman.  She  parted  with 
me  with  reluctance  as  I  was  the  only  one  near  her  who 
had  any  experience  in  her  disease.  When  I  arrived  to- 
day at  Brookville,  the  President  and  his  suite  had  gone. 
The  girls  were  very  sorry  I  had  been  absent,  as  the  scene 
in  B.  had  been  novel  and  interesting.  Just  at  bed  time 
the  Presd.  had  arrived  and  all  hands  went  to  work  to  pre- 
pare supper  and  lodgings  for  him,  his  companions  and 
guards, — beds  were  spread  in  the  parlour,  the  house  was 
filled  and  guards  placed  round  the  house  during  the  night. 
A  large  troop  of  horse  likewise  arrived  and  encamp'd  for 
the  night,  beside  the  mill-wall  in  a  beautiful  little  plain, 
so  embosom'd  in  woods  and  hills.  The  tents  were  scat- 
ter'd  along  the  riverlet  and  the  fires  they  kindled  on 
the  ground  and  the  lights  within  the  tents  had  a  beauti- 
ful appearance.  All  the  villagers,  gentlemen  and  ladies, 
young  and  old,  throng'd  to  see  the  President.  He  was 
tranquil  as  usual,  and  tho'  much  distressed  by  the  dread- 
ful event,  which  had  taken  place  not  dispirited.  He  ad- 
vised Mr.  Smith  to  return  to  the  city,  whither  he  was 


io8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

himself  going.  Mr.  Monroe  and  some  other  gentlemen 
join'd  him  and  about  noon  he  set  off  for  our  suffering 
city.  The  rest  of  the  day  we  pass'd  tranquilly.  It  is 
now  night,  all  around  is  quiet.  All  the  inhabitants  of  this 
peaceful  village  sleep  in  peace.  How  silent!  How 
serene!  the  moonlight  gilds  the  romantic  landscape  that 
spreads  around  me.  Oh  my  God,  what  a  contrast  is  this 
repose  of  nature,  to  the  turbulence  of  society.  How 
much  more  dreadful  is  the  war  of  man  with  man,  than 
the  strife  of  elements.  On  Thursday  the  hurricane 
which  blew  down  houses,  tore  up  trees  and  spread  terror 
around,  pass'd  in  a  few  minutes  and  nature  recovered  her 
tranquility.  But  oh  my  country,  when  will  the  destroy- 
ing tempest  which  is  now  ravaging  and  destroying  thy 
property  and  happiness,  when  will  that  be  hushed  to  peace ! 
At  this  moment,  escaped  from  danger,  I,  and  my  family, 
all  I  hold  most  dear,  are  safe.  But  when  I  think  of  my 
good  fellow  citizens,  when  I  think  of  our  poor  soldiers, 
flying  on  every  part,  sinking  under  fatigue  and  pain  and 
hunger,  dying  alone  and  unknown,  scattered  in  woods 
and  fields — when  I  think  of  these  horrors,  I  can  hardly 
enjoy  my  own  security. 

Tuesday  30.  Here  we  are,  once  more  restored  to  our 
home.  How  shall  I  be  sufficiently  thankful  for  the  mer- 
cies I  have  experienced.  Once  more  the  precious  objects 
of  my  affection  are  gathered  round  me  under  our  own 
roof.  But  how  long  shall  I  enjoy  this  blessing!  The 
blast  has  pass'd  by,  without  devastating  this  spot.  But  the 
storm  is  not  yet  over,  dark,  gloomy,  lowering  is  the  pros- 
pect, and  far  more  dreadful  scenes  may  be  impending. 
Never  did  I  feel  so  affected,  so  hopeless  and  sunk,  as  I 
did  yesterday  in  the  city.  Oh  my  sister,  what  a  sight! 
But  to  resume  my  journal.  On  Sunday  morning  we  left 
Brookeville.     Our  ride  was  pleasant.     All  the  way  we 


i8i4]  RETURN    TO    SIDNEY  109 

were  conjecturing  how  we  should  find  our  dwelling. 
We  saw  no  vestige  of  the  late  scene,  till  we  approach'd 
the  gate  that  open'd  in  to  our  farm,  then  in  the  woods 
we  saw  a  cannon  whose  carriage  was  broken,  near  the 
ruins  of  our  cottage.  On  descending  the  hill,  at  the  foot 
of  a  tree  we  saw  a  soldier  sleeping  on  his  arms, — leaving 
the  woods  we  saw  four  or  5  others  crossing  the  field  and 
picking  apples.  When  we  reach'd  the  yard,  a  soldier 
with  his  musket  was  standing  by  the  gate  and  asked  per- 
mission to  get  a  drink.  These  men  were  only  passing 
over  the  farm.  We  found  the  house  just  as  we  had  left 
it,  and  the  vestige  of  no  enemy,  but  the  hurricane  of 
Thursday  which  had  blown  down  fences  and  trees.  Julia 
and  Ann  cook'd  us  up  a  little  dinner  and  in  the  afternoon 
we  rode  to  the  city.  We  pass'd  several  dead  horses. 
The  poor  capitol!  nothing  but  its  blacken'd  walls  re- 
mained! 4  or  5  houses  in  the  neighbourhood  were  like- 
wise in  ruins.  Some  men  had  got  within  these  houses 
and  fired  on  the  English  as  they  were  quietly  marching 
into  the  city,  they  killed  4  men  and  Genl.  Rosse's  horse. 
I  imagine  Genl.  R.  thought  that  his  life  was  particularly 
aim'd  at,  for  while  his  troops  remained  in  the  city  he 
never  made  his  appearance,  altho'  Cochburn  and  the 
other  officers  often  rode  through  the  avenue.  It  was  on 
account  of  this  outrage  that  these  houses  were  burnt. 
We  afterwards  look'd  at  the  other  public  buildings,  but 
none  were  so  thoroughly  destroy'd  as  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives and  the  President's  House.  Those  beauti- 
ful pillars  in  that  Representatives  Hall  were  crack'd  and 
broken,  the  roof,  that  noble  dome,  painted  and  carved 
with  such  beauty  and  skill,  lay  in  ashes  in  the  cellars  be- 
neath the  smouldering  ruins,  were  yet  smoking.  In  the 
P.  H.  not  an  inch,  but  its  crack'd  and  blacken'd  walls  re- 
main'd.    That  scene,  which  when  I  last  visited  it,  was  so 


no  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

splendid,  throng' d  with  the  great,  the  gay,  the  ambitious 
placemen,  and  patriotic  Heros  was  now  nothing  but  ashes, 
and  was  it  these  ashes,  now  trodden  under  foot  by  the 
rabble,  which  once  possess'd  the  power  to  inflate  pride,  to 
gratify  vanity.  Did  we  ever  honour  the  inhabitants  of 
this  ruin  the  more  for  their  splendid  habitation, — was  this 
an  object  of  desire,  ambition,  envy?  Alas,  yes  and  this  is 
human  grandeur!  How  fragile,  how  transitory!  Who 
would  have  thought  that  this  mass  so  solid,  so  mag- 
nificent, so  grand,  which  seem'd  built  for  generations  to 
come,  should  by  the  hands  of  a  few  men  and  in  the  space 
of  a  few  hours,  be  thus  irreparably  destroy'd.  Oh  van- 
ity of  human  hopes !  After  this  melancholy  survey,  Mr. 
Smith  went  to  see  the  President,  who  was  at  Mr.  Cutts' 
(his  brother  in  law)  where  we  found  Mrs.  Madison  and 
her  sister  Mrs.  Cutts.  Mrs.  M.  seem'd  much  depress'd, 
she  could  scarcely  speak  without  tears.  She  told  me  she 
had  remained  in  the  city  till  a  few  hours  before  the  En- 
glish enter'd.  She  was  so  confident  of  Victory  that  she 
was  calmly  listening  to  the  roar  of  cannon,  and  watching 
the  rockets  in  the  air,  when  she  perceived  our  troops  rush- 
ing into  the  city,  with  the  haste  and  dismay  of  a  routed 
force.  The  friends  with  her  then  hurried  her  away,  (her 
carriage  being  previously  ready)  and  she  with  many 
other  families,  among  whom  was  Mrs.  Thornton  and 
Mrs.  Cutting  with  her,  retreated  with  the  flying  army. 
In  George  town  they  perceived  some  men  before  them 
carrying  off  the  picture  of  Genl.  Washington  (the  large 
one  by  Stewart)  which  with  the  plate,  was  all  that  was 
saved  out  of  the  President's  house.  Mrs.  M.  lost  all  her 
own  property.  The  wine,  of  which  there  was  a  great 
quantity,  was  consumed  by  our  own  soldiers.  Mrs.  M. 
slept  that  night  in  the  encampment,  a  guard  being  placed 
round  her  tent,  the  next  day  she  cross'd  into  Virginia 


3> 
< 


o 

'Eh 

u 


i8i4]  COCKBURN'S   PROCEEDINGS  m 

where  she  remained  until  Sunday,  when  she  return'd  to 
meet  her  husband.  Men,  soldiers,  expresses  were  round 
the  house,  the  President  was  in  a  room  with  his  cabinet, 
from  whence  he  issued  his  orders.  The  English  frigates 
were  laying  before  Alexandria  and  as  it  was  supposed 
only  waiting  for  a  wind  to  come  up  to  the  city.  The  belief 
was  that  about  700  or  more  sailors  were  to  be  let  loose 
in  the  city  for  plunder,  dreadful  idea.  A  universal  des- 
pondency seem'd  to  pervade  the  people, — we  every  where 
met  them  in  scatter'd  groups,  relating  or  listening  to  their 
fears.  We  drank  tea  at  Mrs.  Thornton's,  who  described 
to  us  the  manner  in  which  they  conflagrated  the  Presi- 
dent's H.  and  other  buildings, — 50  men,  sailors  and 
marines,  were  marched  by  an  ofhcer,  silently  thro'  the 
avenue,  each  carrying  a  long  pole  to  which  was  fixed  a 
ball  about  the  circumference  of  a  large  plate, — when  ar- 
rived at  the  building,  each  man  was  station'd  at  a  win- 
dow, with  his  pole  and  machine  of  wild-fire  against  it, 
at  the  word  of  command,  at  the  same  instant  the  windows 
were  broken  and  this  wild-fire  thrown  in,  so  that  an  in- 
stantaneous conflagration  took  place  and  the  whole  build- 
ing was  wrapt  in  flames  and  smoke.  The  spectators 
stood  in  awful  silence,  the  city  was  light  and  the  heavens 
redden'd  with  the  blaze !  The  day  before  Cockburn  paid 
this  house  a  visit  and  forced  a  young  gentleman  of  our 
acquaintance  to  go  with  him, — on  entering  the  dining 
room  they  found  the  table  spread  for  dinner,  left  pre- 
cipitally  by  Mrs.  M, — he  insisted  on  young  Weightman's 
sitting  down  and  drinking  Jemmy's  health,  which  was  the 
only  epithet  he  used  whenever  he  spoke  of  the  President. 
After  looking  round,  he  told  Mr.  W.  to  take  something 
to  remember  this  day.  Mr.  W.  wished  for  some  valu- 
able article.  No,  no  said  he,  that  I  must  give  to  the 
flames,  but  here,  handing  him  some  ornaments  off  the 


ii2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

mantle-piece,  these  will  answer  as  a  memento.  I  must 
take  something  too,  and  looking  round,  he  seized  an  old 
hat  a  chapeau  de  bras  of  the  President's,  and  a  cushion  off 
Mrs.  M.'s  chair,  declaring  these  should  be  his  trophies, 
adding  pleasantries  too  vulgar  for  me  to  repeat.  When 
he  went  to  burn  Mr,  Gale's  office,  whom  he  called  his 
"dear  Josey" ;  Mrs.  Brush,  Mrs.  Stelle  and  a  few  citizens 
remonstrated  with  him,  assuring  him  that  it  would  occa- 
sion the  loss  of  all  the  buildings  in  the  row.  "Well,"  said 
he,  "good  people  I  do  not  wish  to  injure  you,  but  I  am 
really  afraid  my  friend  Josey  will  be  affronted  with  me, 
if  after  burning  Jemmy's  palace,  I  do  not  pay  him  the 
same  compliment, — so  my  lads,  take  your  axes,  pull  down 
the  house,  and  burn  the  papers  in  the  street."  This  was 
accordingly  done.  He  told  Mrs.  Brush  and  several 
others,  that  no  houses  should  be  injur'd  but  such  as  were 
shut  and  deserted.  Mr.  Cutting  and  Mrs.  B.  saved  ours, 
by  opening  the  windows.  Cockburn  often  rode  down 
the  avenue,  on  an  old  white  mare  with  a  long  main  and 
tail  and  followed  by  its  fold  to  the  dismay  of  the  spec- 
tators. He,  and  all  his  officers  and  soldiers  were  per- 
fectly polite  to  the  citizens.  He  bade  them  complain  of 
any  soldier  that  committed  the  least  disorder  and  had 
several  severly  punished,  for  very  slight  offenses.  All 
provisions  were  paid  for.  He  stop'd  at  a  door,  at  which 
a  young  lady  was  standing  and  enter'd  into  familiar  con- 
versation. "Now  did  you  expect  to  see  me  such  a  clever 
fellow,"  said  he,  "were  you  not  prepared  to  see  a  savage, 
a  ferocious  creature,  such  as  Josey  represented  me  ?  But 
you  see  I  am  quite  harmless,  don't  be  afraid,  I  will  take 
better  care  of  you  than  Jemmy  did !"  Such  was  his  man- 
ner,— that  of  a  common  sailor,  not  of  a  dignified  com- 
mander. He  however  deserves  praise  and  commenda- 
tion for  his  own  good  conduct  and  the  discipline  of  his 


i8i4J  ARMSTRONG  AND  WINDER  BLAMED    113 

sailors  and  Marines,  for  these  were  the  destroying  agents. 
The  land  troops  and  officers  were  scarcely  seen  while  in 
the  city,  but  kept  close  qrs  at  the  navy  yard.  Cockburn 
had  ordered  Col.  Wharton's  and  Capt.  Tingey's  (?) 
houses  (both  public  property)  and  the  barracks  and  arse- 
nal to  be  burnt,  but  on  a  remonstrance  from  the  citizens, 
and  an  assurance  the  fire  would  destroy  private  property 
he  desisted,  "I  want  to  injure  no  citizen,"  said  he,  "and 
so  your  Barracks  may  stand."  I  must  praise  his  modera- 
tion, indeed  his  conduct  was  such  as  to  disarm  the  preju- 
dices that  existed.  During  the  stay  of  their  troops  in  the 
city,  it  was  so  still  you  might  have  heard  a  pin  drop  on 
the  pavement.  The  negroes  all  hid  themselves  and  in- 
stead of  a  mutinous  spirit,  have  never  evinced  so  much 
attachment  to  the  whites  and  such  dread  of  the  enemy. 
I  could  fill  sheets  with  similar  anecdotes,  but  the  above 
will  give  you  an  idea  of  Cockburn.  They  left  the  city 
precipitately,  from  the  idea  that  Winder  was  collecting 
his  forces  and  would  by  going  round  them,  cut  off  their 
retreat  to  their  ships.  And  this  could  have  been  done, 
and  our  poor  soldiers  were  willing  and  able  for  any 
enterprise,  but  their  commanders, — Ah  their  command- 
ers, Armstrong  and  Winder  on  their  shoulders  lies  the 
blame  of  our  disastrous  flight  and  defeat.  Our  men  were 
all  eager  to  fight  and  were  marching  on  with  a  certainty 
of  victory,  more  than  2000  had  not  fired  their  muskets, 
when  Armstrong  and  Winder  gave  the  order  for  a  re- 
treat, and  to  enforce  that  order  added  terror  to  authority ! 
The  English  officers  have  told  some  of  our  citizens  that 
they  could  not  have  stood  more  than  10  minutes  longer 
that  they  had  march'd  that  day  13  miles,  and  were  ex- 
hausted with  thirst,  heat  and  fatigue.  It  is  said  2  Irish 
regiments  wish'd  to  be  taken  and  were  on  the  point  of 
joining  us  when  the  retreat  commenced.     I  have  con- 


ii4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  LAug 

versed  with  many  of  our  officers  and  men.  All  agree  in 
this  statement,  that  the  troops  wish'd  to  fight,  and  were 
full  of  spirit  and  courage.  The  English  expected  great 
resistance.  Yesterday  when  in  the  city  I  conversed  with 
a  great  many  citizens,  they  were  all  disponding,  dis- 
hearten'd.  The  President  is  determined  on  making  a 
resistance  in  case  the  enemy  return.  But  our  citizens 
sent  a  deputation  begging  him  not  to  attempt  it,  as  it 
would  be  ineffectual,  and  would  only  be  making  them  and 
the  roofs  that  shelter'd  them  a  sacrifice.  "They  now," 
they  said,  "had  neither  their  honor  or  property  to  loose. 
All  they  valued  was  gone."  The  President's  orders 
however,  were  enforced  and  all  day  yesterday  while  I 
was  in  the  city  I  saw  them  collecting.  Troops  are  or- 
der'd  from  all  around,  and  3000  are  expected  tonight. 
Alexandria  has  surrender'd  its  town  with  all  their  flour 
and  merchandize  and  the  frigates  are  now  laying  before 
that  town,  loading  the  Alexandria  shipping  with  the 
goods  of  the  citizens.  What  will  be  our  fate  I  know  not. 
The  citizens  who  remain'd  are  now  moving  out,  and  all 
seem  more  alarm'd  than  before.  I  brought  Eliza  Doyne 
(that  was)  out  with  me.  Mrs.  Brush  is  coming  out  this 
evening  and  has  sent  out  all  her  furniture.  I  prefer  offer- 
ing our  house  as  an  asylum  to  the  poor  than  the  rich. 
There  is  dreadful  individual  suffering, — one  of  Mr.  S.'s 
clerk's  was  here  this  morning,  his  house  and  furniture 
were  all  burnt,  even  his  clothing  and  he  and  his  family  are 
reduced  to  penury.  Hundreds,  I  may  say  thousands  of 
our  flying  troops  pass'd  thro  our  farm  after  the  engage- 
ment. The  English  got  within  half  a  mile  of  us  and 
have  plunder'd  our  neighbours  on  the  adjoining  farms, — 
the  intervening  wood  hid  us  from  them.  On  their  re- 
treat through  Bladensburg  they  have  done  a  great  deal 
of  injury,  destroying  furniture,  carrying  off  cattle  &c. 


i8i4]  GENERAL   CONSTERNATION  115 

The  consternation  around  us  is  general.  The  despond- 
ency still  greater.  But  /  look  forward  with  hope,  our 
troops  are  again  collecting  and  altho'  the  poor  citizens 
are  dishearten'd  by  the  fate  of  their  city,  the  rest  of 
the  army  are  still  willing  to  fight.  Universal  execration 
follows  Armstrong,  who  it  is  believed  never  wished  to 
defend  the  city  and  I  was  assured  that  had  he  pass'd  thro' 
the  city  the  day  after  the  engagement,  he  would  have 
been  torn  to  pieces.  The  district  certainly  was  not  in  a 
state  of  preparation,  whether  from  want  of  ability  or 
want  of  inclination  on  the  part  of  the  administration  we 
can  not  know.  The  city  was  capable  of  defence  and 
ought  to  have  been  defended.  But  we  will  retrieve,  yes 
I  trust  we  will  retrieve  our  character  and  restore  our  cap- 
ital. Oh  that  I  a  feeble  woman  could  do  something! 
This  is  not  the  first  capital  of  a  great  empire,  that  has 
been  invaded  and  conflagrated ;  Rome  was  reduced  still 
lower  by  the  Goths  of  old,  than  we  are,  and  when  its  sen- 
ate proposed  removing  the  seat  of  government,  they  were 
answered,  Romans  would  never  be  driven  from  their 
homes,  Rome  should  never  be  destroy'd.  May  a  Roman 
spirit  animate  our  people,  and  the  Roman  example  be 
followed  by  the  Americans.  Meanwhile,  you  will  ask 
for  some  domestic  details.  We  are  in  that  state  of  con- 
fusion, which  with  our  clothes  and  furniture  all  re- 
moved you  may  imagine.  Mrs.  Brush  and  Mrs.  Gram- 
mar (E.  Doyne)  are  added  to  our  family.  Every  hour 
brings  a  different  rumour ;  we  know  not  what  to  believe 
and  scarcely  what  to  hope.  We  are  determined  how- 
ever not  again  to  quit  the  house,  but  to  run  all  risques 
here,  as  we  find  our  enemy  not  so  ferocious  as  we  ex- 
pected and  that  property  is  much  endanger'd  by  quitting 
it.  I  shall  persuade  Ann  to  go  to  Brookville  and  take 
the  children,  if  more  alarming  intelligence  arrives.     I  am 


n6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

now  so  harden'd  to  fatigue  and  alarm,  that  I  do  not  fear 
my  health  will  suffer.  The  same  external  symtoms  con- 
tinue and  I  am  astonished  I  am  not  much  weakened  by 
so  long  a  continuation.  But  I  am  not  [torn  out]  no 
depression,  but  feel  wound  up  to  be  [torn  out.]  I  trust 
when  the  hour  of  alarm  or  trial  comes  I  shall  be  enabled 
to  support  it.  Ann  is  as  composed  and  easy  as  if  all  was 
peace.  She  is  all  that  is  kind  and  attentive  to  me  and 
the  children,  and  in  the  absence  of  our  servants,  she  and 
Julia  do  everything.  Do  not  be  so  anxious  about  us  my 
dearest  sister.  The  back  is  fitted  to  the  burden.  As  yet, 
my  strength  has  not  been  tryed.  I  trust  not  in  myself, — 
the  firm,  the  innate,  the  deep  felt  conviction  that  every 
thing  is  over  ruled  by  a  great  and  a  good  God,  reconciles 
me  to  every  event.  The  late  astonishing  events  in  Eu- 
rope, and  the  dreadful  ones  here,  seem  to  have  so  sunk  all 
human  grandeur,  all  human  concerns  in  my  estimation, 
and  human  life  appears  so  short,  so  very  short,  that 
instead  of  anxiety,  I  feel  almost  indifference.  All  will 
soon  be  past,  whether  life  is  spent  in  suffering  or  enjoy- 
ment, is  of  little  moment,  so  that  it  is  well  spent, — we 
cannot  suffer  long.  External  circumstances  are  of  little 
consequence,  so  that  in  all  we  do  our  duty.  Such  are  my 
reflections;  and  my  whole  effort  now,  is  not  to  escape 
from  suffering  and  danger,  but  to  be  active  in  the  per- 
formance of  the  duties  they  bring  with  them.  Please  to 
send  my  letter  to  Maria.  I  cannot  write  over, — dear, 
dear  sister  adieu.  Do  not  be  anxious  about  me, — I  am 
not  uneasy  myself. 


i8i4J        THE    COUNTRY    LAID    WASTE  117 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Sidney  Sept  1 1 .  [1814] 
.  .  .  .  The  affairs  of  our  country  grow  more  and 
more  gloomy;  last  night  the  perusal  of  the  papers  made 
me  quite  melancholy,  at  Plattsburgh,  N.  London,  N. 
Haven,  all  was  consternation  and  alarm,  families  remov- 
ing their  property,  and  many,  I  suppose,  as  in  this  place 
wandering  from  their  homes,  without  knowing  where  to 
find  a  shelter.  All  around  our  neighborhood  was  fill'd ; 
those  who  could  not  get  into  houses  encamp'd  in  the 
woods.  In  our  old  church  there  were  9  families.  At 
Mrs.  Fries  5  families  with  18  children  with  scarcely  any- 
thing to  eat.  Every  day  we  are  hearing  of  new  instances 
of  the  cruelty  of  the  soldiery  and  individual  suffering. 
It  has  been  the  poor  who  have  been  the  principle  suffer- 
ers. At  Bladensburgh  which  was  inhabited  chiefly  by 
poor  persons,  the  gentlemen  having  large  houses  and 
farms  around  the  houses  are  much  damaged  by  cannon 
ball  &c — many  of  them  occupied  by  the  British  wounded 
and  our  wounded  men.  (The  army  left  all  of  their 
wounded  for  us  to  take  care  of) — The  poor  owners  thus 
excluded,  their  gardens,  corn  fields  and  enclosures  laid 
waste ;  their  horses  all  taken.  In  the  army's  march  from 
Benedict  they  made  tents  and  beds  of  all  the  green  corn, 
for  which  purpose  they  cut  down  whole  fields.  I  am 
told  this  country  (from  Benedict  to  Washington)  is 
totally  laid  waste ;  you  can  scarcely  get  anything  for  man 
or  horse  to  eat.  They  strip'd  the  people  of  their  cloth- 
ing, taking  women's  and  even  children's  clothes.  All 
this  was  done  by  the  straggling  parties  of  soldiers  who 
robb'd  only  the  poor.  At  Bladensburg,  Marlboro'  and 
Wood  Yard,  the  officers  had  guards  placed  around  the 


u8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1814 

houses  of  many  considerable  and  wealthy  persons  and 
obtruded  no  further  than  to  go  to  lodge,  breakfast  or 
dine  with  the  gentlemen,  except  where  they  found  houses 
empty  and  deserted,  in  which  case  they  generally  de- 
stroyed them.  We  ran  a  great  risque  in  deserting  ours. 
We  are  again  establish'd  and  I  now  think  nothing  (ex- 
cepting an  army  of  Cossacks)  shall  induce  me  again  to 
leave  it.  The  battle  was  very  near  to  us.  In  the  next 
farm,  there  was  skirmishing,  and  10  dead  bodies  were 
found  (of  the  enemy)  some  only  4  or  5  days  ago.  A 
poor  old  lady,  one  of  our  nearest,  neighbors,  heard  the 
bullets  rattling  around  her  house  and  has  found  a  good 
many  in  the  yard.  I  say  I  will  remain,  tho'  all  who  did, 
say  nothing  would  induce  them  to  again  go  through  such, 
scenes.  I  have  heard  of  two  persons  I  knew,  who  have 
lost  their  senses,  and  several  I  have  seen  are  very  much 
alter'd  in  their  looks.  Mrs.  Bradley  is  the  only  one  who 
would  go  thro'  the  same  scenes  again — she  is  generally 
timid,  but  she  says  when  the  hour  of  trial  came,  courage 
came  with  it.  Several  hundred  of  our  flying  troups 
were  at  her  house,  she  dress'd  their  wounds  and  gave 
them  meat  and  drink.  I  am  persuaded  the  enemy  lost 
many  more  than  was  at  first  supposed,  as  bodies  are  daily 
found,  unburied,  under  bushes,  in  gulleys.  Alas  poor 
wretches,  how  many  anxious  hearts  in  England  may  be 
looking  for  your  return!  The  wounded  and  prisoners 
who  remain,  all  express  themselves  delighted  with  this 
country,  many  who  have  been  in  France  and  Spain,  say 
they  never  saw  so  beautiful  or  so  rich  a  country  and  won- 
der how  so  happy  a  people  could  go  to  war.  It  is  sup- 
posed between  4  or  500  blacks  have  either  [obliterated] 
taken.  They  have  behaved  well,  been  quiet,  and  [oblit- 
erated] in  general  appear  to  dread  the  enemy  as  much  as 
we  do.     Thus  we  are  spared  one  evil  and  the  one  I  had 


i8i5]       DOMESTIC    REARRANGEMENTS         119 

most  dread  of.  Muskets,  cartridge  boxes,  were  found 
by  ioo's  and  in  possession  of  the  blacks,  who  have  all 
cheerfully  given  them  up,  to  the  persons  sent  to  look  for 
and  collect  them.  Our  black  men  found  3  on  our  farm, 
which  they  immediately  gave  up.  Citizens  have  re- 
turned and  are  slowly  and  despondently  resuming  busi- 
ness, but  society  and  individuals  have  received  a  shock  it 
will  require  a  long  time  to  recover  from.  I  now  begin 
to  feel  a  little  composed  and  able  to  resume  my  ordinary 
employments.  Mr.  Smith  has  lost  considerably  by  the 
destruction  of  the  Bridges,  in  both  of  which  he  had  in- 
vested a  large  sum.  We  shall  make  some  change  in  our 
living,  so  as  to  reduce  our  expenditures.  We  have  given 
up  our  house  in  the  city,  as  it  was  much  wanted  and  we 
shall  not  go  there  next  winter.  Excuse  me  for  writing 
on  one  subject  only.  It  is  the  only  one  of  which  we  talk 
or  think.  But  our  country,  our  poor  country.  It  seems 
surrounded.  No  place  seems  safe.  I  will  not  begin  on 
another  sheet,  but  conclude  this  with  begging  you  my 
dear  sister  to  write  as  soon  as  you  can.  All  our  family 
are  perfectly  well.  Matty  as  well  as  ever  she  was  in  her 
life,  she  was  quite  safe  during  the  alarm,  in  an  obscure 
farm  I  had  sent  her  to. 

TO  SAML.  HARRISON  SMITH1 

Lone  house — by  the  way  side.  [1815] 
What  a  novel  letter  I  could  write  you  if  I  but  had  the 
time  and  if  the  passing  stage  will  not  take  me  up,  I  shall 
have  time  enough,  for  here  I  must  stay  till  they  do,  if 
its  all  day  and  night  too.  A  few  miles  this  side  of  Ches- 
ter, our  stage  broke,  but  the  mud  was  so  deep,  the  gen- 

1  Mrs.  Smith  was  on  her  way  to  Philadelphia  to  visit  her  brother  Andrew 
Bayard,  President  of  the  Commercial  Bank  of  Philadelphia.  She  finished 
the  letter  in  Philadelphia. 


i2o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1815 

tlemen  would  not  let  me  get  out,  we  all  sat  on  the  upper 
side,  (one  of  the  braces  was  broke  and  the  carriage 
rested  on  the  axel)  and  were  drag'd  thro'  the  mud  to 
this  house,  about  two  miles  off.  It  was  ten  o'clock  and 
the  people  all  abed  and  it  was  a  long  time  before  we 
could  waken  them.  At  last  the  door  was  open'd  by  a 
nice  good  looking  old  quaker  lady,  with  fear  and  trem- 
bling however.  There  were  no  men  and  no  assistance 
of  any  kind — the  moon  was  just  down  and  the  night  so 
foggy  that  the  driver  said  it  would  be  very  dark.  I 
therefore  begged  the  old  lady  to  keep  me  all  night.  The 
gentlemen  said  they  could  get  on  the  horses  or  walk  and 
as  they  were  anxious  to  get  on,  they  bade  me  farewell 
and  commended  me  to  the  lady's  care.  It  was  eleven 
o'clock  before  they  got  off,  the  stage  supported  by  an  old 
rail.  I  then  begged  my  good  quaker,  to  take  me  to  the 
kitchen  fire,  as  I  was  very  cold  and  wet.  My  feet  had 
been  wet  all  day,  and  getting  in  and  out  of  the  stages  in 
the  rain,  for  it  had  rain'd  hard  all  day,  had  wet  my 
clothes.  Two  sweet  looking  young  women  got  up  and 
soon  made  a  fine  fire.  I  got  in  to  the  chimney  corner, 
for  the  chimney  was  like  old  Mrs.  Tracy's,  undress'd  and 
dried  and  warm'd  myself.  I  ask'd  them  if  it  would  not 
be  too  much  trouble,  if  they  could  give  me  something  for 
supper.  They  said  they  really  had  nothing  at  all  in  the 
house  they  didnt  often  accommodate  people,  it  being  a 
house  just  for  the  market  folks  to  stop  at.  I  told  them  a 
bowl  of  tea,  with  brown  sugar  would  do,  for  I  felt  chilly 
and  weary.  They  put  on  the  tea  kettle,  and  on  my  asking 
for  an  egg,  found  one.  They  seem'd  curious  about  me, 
and  when  I  told  them  that  I  came  from  Washington,  I 
became  an  object  of  curiosity  to  them  and  they  asked 
me  a  hundred  questions, — particularly  about  its  being 
taken  by  the  British,  and  about  slaves.     While  my  kettle 


i8iS]       NIGHT    IN    A    STRANGE    HOUSE        121 

was  boiling,  I  sat  in  one  corner  and  the  old  lady  in  the 
other  corner  of  the  chimney.  She  was  a  pale,  delicate 
looking  woman,  with  an  uncommonly  sweet  face.  She 
regretted  much  having  no  better  accomodation,  but  I  told 
her  truly  it  was  more  agreeable  than  a  public  house,  that 
I  could  feel  as  if  she  was  my  mother,  at  least  take  as  good 
care  of  me  and  that  her  daughters  were  just  the  age  of 
mine.  Here  I  must  say,  a  few  tears  would  in  spite  of  me 
break  from  my  full  heart,  at  the  thought  of  home  dear 
home — dangers  being  now  over  my  courage  was  over 
too.  The  dear  old  lady  was  so  kind.  In  a  few  mo- 
ments I  went  on  with  my  history  of  the  taking  and  burn- 
ing of  Washington,  which  all  listen'd  eagerly  to,  while 
we  sat  cowering  over  the  fire.  I  related  all  the  little 
anecdotes  I  could  remember,  our  fears  at  Sidney,  and 
when  they  heard  that  I  could  fire  a  pistol  and  had  slept 
with  a  loaded  pistol  under  my  head,  and  Ann  with  a  pen- 
knife in  her  bosom,  they  were  lost  in  astonishment  and 
look'd  on  me  as  something  wonderful.  The  simplicity 
of  the  good  folks  amused  me  and  their  extreme  interest 
excited  me  to  tell  them  all  about  Ross  Cockburn  &c  &c 
I  could  recollect  and  like  the  old  soldier  I  sat  by  the  "fire 
and  show'd  how  fields  were  won" — lost  I  mean.  When- 
ever I  was  about  to  pause,  they  begg'd  me  to  go  on. 
My  little  table  was  put  in  the  corner  by  me,  my  bowl 
of  tea  and  one  egg  and  two  crackers  I  was  wrapped  in 
my  flannel  gown,  and  my  clothes  hung  round  the  stove 
to  dry.  The  sheets  for  my  bed  were  hung  on  a  chair 
before  the  blaze,  and  if  I  had  indeed  been  her  daughter 
she  could  not  have  been  more  careful  of  me,  but  there 
was  a  sick  child  upstairs  whom  they  had  to  watch  by. 
I  therefore  summon'd  up  courage  to  go  to  bed  alone 
(the  only  thing  I  dreaded)  they  took  me  thro'  five  or 
six  doors,  into  another  house  which  had  been  built  in 


122  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1815 

addition  to  this.  I  requested  the  candle  might  be  left. 
In  vain  I  tried  to  sleep.  It  was  raining  and  blowing,  the 
windows  and  doors  rattling.  I  became  every  moment 
more  nervous,  something  in  the  room,  threw  a  shadow 
on  the  wall  exactly  like  a  coffin — that  night  week  dear 
Elizabeth  had  died — her  image,  almost  herself  was  by 
me,  the  candle  was  almost  out,  I  trembled  so  the  bedstead 
shook  under  me.  I  felt  almost  sure  if  left  in  the  dark 
I  should  fall  into  some  kind  of  fit,  at  last  I  jump'd  up 
and  without  waiting  to  put  on  my  flannel  gown,  I  took 
my  almost  expiring  candle,  determined  to  find  my  way 
to  the  kitchen,  and  if  I  could  not  find  another  candle,  to 
sit  in  the  chimney  corner  all  night.  I  open'd  the  door  of 
a  chamber  next  me,  hoping  some  one  of  the  family  might 
be  there,  but  I  saw  a  bedstead,  the  idea  tha(  some  one 
might  have  just  died  there  struck  me.  I  dared  not  look 
farther,  but  found  my  way  down  stairs  into  a  large  empty 
room,  with  four  doors,  I  opened  the  one  nearest  to  me, 
the  wind  rushed  in  and  blew  out  my  candle.  I  then 
groped  all  round  the  room.  Two  doors  were  bolted,  at 
last  I  found  one  that  yielded  to  my  hand,  I  open'd  it,  but 
knew  not  where  I  was  and  was  afraid  of  falling  down 
steps.  I  thought  it  best  to  return  to  my  chamber,  tho' 
with  a  horror  I  cannot  describe — then  I  thought  I  would 
sit  down  in  the  empty  room  on  the  floor.  The  windows 
shook  with  the  storm,  as  if  they  would  have  fallen  in — the 
wind  blew  most  violently  and  some  open  door  was  creak- 
ing and  slaming.  I  shook,  so  I  could  scarcely  stand  and 
was  quite  unable  to  find  the  door  at  the  foot  of  the  stairs. 
At  last,  some  one  called  out — Who's  there  ?  I  answer'd 
and  the  old  woman  came  to  me  with  a  light,  and  look'd 
quite  frightened  to  see  me  there.  She  took  me  in  the 
kitchen, — the  fire  was  still  burning,  and  they  had  been 
making  up  bread,  &c.     I  told  them  I  felt  unwell  and  had 


i8i5]  MRS.    SMITH'S    TERROR  123 

come  down  for  another  candle — they  mixed  me  a  glass 
of  toddy,  as  they  saw  me  shaking  as  if  I  had  an  ague. 
After  I  got  warm'd  I  began  one  of  the  stories  that  had 
interested  them  so  much  and  was  very  eloquent  indeed, 
in  hopes  of  beguiling  them  to  sit  up  an  hour  or  two  with 
me,  but  they  were  too  sleepy,  for  even  my  most  wonderful 
stories  to  keep  them  awake.  At  last  finding  neither 
Cochburn's  murders,  nor  negro  conspiracies,  nor  Georgia 
negro  buyers  could  keep  their  eyes  open,  I  again  ask'd 
for  a  bed  fellow  and  said  I  felt  so  lonely  I  could  not  sleep. 
But  the  daughter  could  not  be  spared,  and  I  again  re- 
turned with  a  whole  candle  and  crept  into  bed,  where  the 
kind  girl  tucked  me  in.  But  it  was  in  vain,  I  repeated 
poetry  and  exerted  my  reason.  I  whose  courage  had  that 
morning  been  so  admired  and  extoll'd  by  my  fellow  trav- 
ellers, when  in  danger  of  losing  my  life  was  now  ill  with 
imaginary  terrors.  After  about  an  hour,  I  heard  doors 
opening  and  shutting  then  foot  steps  ascending  the  stairs 
— then  some  one  at  my  door,  who  whispered,  "Are  you 
awake?"  To  which  I  gladly  answered  "Yes,"  for  even 
the  entrance  of  robbers  would  have  been  welcome.  But 
it  was  my  good  old  lady,  who  feeling  uneasy,  had  made 
her  youngest  daughter,  a  little  girl  the  size  of  Anna  Maria 
get  up  and  brought  her  to  me  as  a  bed  fellow.  The 
moment  I  felt  warm  flesh  and  blood  near  me  and  her  little 
arm  round  me  my  trembling  and  shiverings  ceased  and 
soon  I  drop't  into  a  sweet  sleep,  from  which  I  was 
awaken'd  by  a  bright  sun,  shining  in  my  windows.  My 
pretty  bed  fellow  assisted  to  dress  me  and  when  I  went 
down  in  the  sitting  room,  I  found  a  fine  looking  grey- 
headed old  man  that  put  me  in  mind  of  Mr.  K.  He 
was  the  father  of  the  family,  and  I  had  again  in  answer 
to  his  questions  to  relate  my  dangers  and  hair  breadth 
escapes.     A  little  breakfast  table  was  set  for  me,  and 


i24  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1815 

when  done  they  cut  this  sheet  of  paper  out  of  a  book  for 
me  and  with  an  old  stub  of  a  pen,  I  am  sitting  by  the  stove 
to  write.  No  stage  has  yet  pass'd.  I  think  it  probable 
the  roads  were  so  dangerous  near  the  Susquehanah  and 
so  deep  elsewhere,  something  may  have  happen'd  and 
that  they  will  not  be  along  till  in  the  evening  or  night, 
like  us.  I  can  find  no  book  in  the  house,  so  for  my  own 
amusement  as  well  as  yours  will  write  on,  if  it  be  all  day 
and  by  way  of  making  it  answer  for  a  chapter  in  the 
great  work,  will  go  into  details  in  the  novel  style — this 
will  be  killing  two  birds  with  one  stone. 

Now  to  begin  my  journal.  Like  all  other  times  of 
war  and  peace,  it  affords  little  to  say.  My  ride  to  Balti- 
more was  as  pleasant  as  on  a  summer's  day,  my  compan- 
ion a  very  agreeable  man  who  knew  everybody  I  knew  in 
New  York,  and  we  talked  of  all  the  old  acquaintance  of 
twenty  and  30  years  back — he  told  me  who  he  was,  his 
business  and  family.  I  told  him  who  I  was,  my  husband's 
business  and  our  family  and  before  we  reached  Baltimore 
felt  like  old  acquaintance.  When  the  stage  stopp'd  we 
were  taken  into  the  stage  office  and  found  on  enquiry, 
not  a  single  passenger  was  going  on  to  Philad.  Mr. 
Dey,  said  if  I  would  wait  he  would  go  to  the  other  stage 
office  and  enquire.  There  were  a  parcel  of  men  standing 
round,  but  no  one  offer'd  me  a  chair.  I  asked  one  of 
them  to  carry  my  letter  into  Mr.  Williamson.  Soon  after 
the  bar  keeper  came  and  asked  me  to  walk  into  a  parlour, 
where  a  very  genteel  young  man,  came  and  in  the  most 
respectful  way,  enquir'd  what  he  could  do  for  my  ac- 
comodation, stating  his  father  was  very  ill,  but  he  would 
execute  any  commands  I  might  give  him.  When  he 
understood  my  wishes,  he  begg'd  me  to  walk  in  a  better 
parlour  up  stairs,  while  he  would  go  to  the  other  stage 
office  and  learn  what  passengers  there  were,  begging 


i8i5]  STAGE  JOURNEY  TO  PHILADELPHIA    125 

me  to  feel  quite  at  home  and  order  what  I  pleased.  He 
soon  return'd,  likewise  Mr.  Dey,  with  information  there 
were  two  gentlemen  going  on  to  Philad.  I  then  ordered 
a  slight  dinner,  while  Mr.  D.  went  to  take  my  seat  and 

speak  to  the  gentlemen  and   Mr.  The  stage 

stopp'd  and  I  left  off.  In  the  stage  were  very  clever 
people,  but  you  may  judge  of  the  state  of  the  roads, 
when  I  was  four  hours  coming  1 5  miles.  At  four  o'clock 
I  got  safely  here,  but  alas  not  to  find  all  as  happy  as  I 
had  hoped,  the  whole  family  were  in  the  greatest  anxiety 
as  Sally  was  very  ill.  I  did  not  see  sister  or  Elizabeth 
untill  this  morning,  her  life  was  in  danger  I  believe  for 
some  hours,  at  one,  the  child  was  born — it  was  six 
months,  it  is  still  alive  but  no  probability  of  its  living.  I 
hope  Sally  is  out  of  danger,  but  poor  sister  and  brother 
are  very,  very  anxious.  In  this  state  of  the  family  I  feel 
in  the  way,  tho'  all  are  kind  enough  to  persuade  me  to 
stay  longer,  I  think  it  best  to  go  tomorrow.  Brother 
would  have  gone  with  me,  had  not  this  event  occur'd. 
Oh  how  frail  is  the  tenure  of  human  felicity.  This  happy 
family  may  soon  be  plunged  into  the  greatest  grief. 
Mrs.  Bayard,  Caroline,  Susan  and  Mrs.  Hodge1  and 
several  other  friends  came  in  to  see  me  and  have  been 
again  this  morning.  I  can  scarcely  steal  time  for  a  few 
lines,  and  am  writing  with  them  all  around  me.  All  are 
unsettled,  going  and  coming  from  Sally's.  I  feel  anx- 
ious but  shall  go  tomorrow.  I  am  perfectly  well,  all  the 
better  for  the  exposure  and  adventures  I  have  met  with. 
I  meant  to  give  you  an  account  of  the  passage  of  the 
Susquehannah,  and  the  rest  of  my  journey,  but  now  I 
feel  in  no  spirits  to  write  it.  All  our  friends  and  con- 
nections of  all  the  different  families  are  in  deep  mourn- 

1  Mrs.  Smith's  mother,  Col.  Bayard's  first  wife  (he  was  married  three 
times),  was  Margaret  Hodge.     Her  visitors  were  all  members  of  her  family. 


126  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

ing.  I  do  not  want  the  girls  to  get  any,  but  it  might  be 
as  well  to  lay  aside  their  gay  ribbons.  Things  seem 
very  different  here  and  at  Sidney — they  have  just  come 
in  to  say  Sally  is  much  better  and  has  fallen  asleep.  This 
is  very  favorable.  I  wrote  those  few  lines  from  Elketon 
under  the  impression  the  mail  to  Washington  would  be 
missing,  but  it  was  the  northern  mail  which  was  deranged. 
I  cannot  write  more  now,  for  every  moment  some  one 
is  coming  in.     Heaven  bless  you  all. 

I  cannot  even  read  over  what  I  have  written. 


FROM  THOMAS  JEFFERSON1 

Monticello,  August  6 — 16 
I  have  received,  dear  Madam,  your  very  friendly  let- 
ter of  July  21,  and  assure  you  that  I  feel  with  deep 
sensibility  its  kind  expression  towards  myself,  and  the 
more  as  from  a  person  than  whom  no  others  could  be 
more  in  sympathy  with  my  own  affections.  I  often  call 
to  mind  the  occasion  of  knowing  your  worth  which  the 
societies  of  Washington  furnished;  and  none  more  than 
those  derived  from  your  much  valued  visit  to  Monticello. 
I  recognize  the  same  motives  of  goodness  in  the  solicitude 
you  express  on  the  rumor  supposed  to  proceed  from  a 
letter  of  mine  to  Charles  Thomson,  on  the  subject  of  the 
Christian  religion,  it  is  true  that,  in  writing  to  the 
translater  of  the  Bible  and  Testament,  that  subject  was 
mentioned ;  but  equally  so  that  no  adherence  to  any  par- 
ticular mode  of  Christianity  was  there  expressed;  nor 
any  change  of  opinions  suggested,  a  change  from  what? 
The  priests  indeed  have  heretofore  thought  proper  to 

1  Mr.  J.  Henley  Smith  read  this  letter  before  the  Historical  Society 
of  the  District  of  Columbia,  and  it  was  printed  in  The  Evening  Star,  Feb.  6, 
1900,  and  in  the  proceedings  of  the  Society  for  that  year. 


i8i6]  JEFFERSON'S    RELIGION  127 

ascribe  to  me  religious,  or  rather  anti-religious,  senti- 
ments of  their  own  fabric,  but  such  as  soothed  their 
resentments  against  the  Act  of  Virginia  for  establishing 
religious  freedom.  They  wish  him  to  be  thought  atheist, 
deeist,  or  devil,  who  could  advocate  freedom  from  their 
religious  dictations,  but  I  have  ever  thought  religion  a 
concern  purely  between  our  God  and  our  consciences  for 
which  we  were  accountable  to  him,  and  not  to  the  priests. 
I  never  told  my  own  religion  nor  scrutinized  that  of 
another.  I  never  attempted  to  make  a  convert,  nor  wish 
to  change  another's  creed.  I  have  ever  judged  of  the 
religion  of  others  by  their  lives ;  and  by  this  test,  my  dear 
Madam,  I  have  been  satisfied  yours  must  be  an  excellent 
one,  to  have  produced  a  life  of  such  exemplary  virtue  and 
correctness,  for  it  is  in  our  lives  and  not  from  our  words, 
that  our  religion  must  be  read.  By  the  same  test,  the 
world  must  judge  me. 

But  this  does  not  satisfy  the  priesthood,  they  must 
have  a  positive,  a  declared  assent  to  all  their  interested  ab- 
surdities. My  opinion  is  that  there  would  never  have 
been  an  infidel,  if  there  had  never  been  a  priest.  The 
artificial  structure  they  have  built  on  the  purest  of  all 
moral  systems  for  the  purpose  of  deriving  from  it  pence 
and  power  revolts  those  who  think  for  themselves  and 
who  read  in  that  system  only  what  is  really  there.  These 
therefore  they  brand  with  such  nicknames  as  their  enmity 
chooses  gratuitously  to  impute.  I  have  left  the  world  in 
silence,  to  judge  of  causes  from  their  effects;  and  I  am 
consoled  in  this  course,  my  dear  friend,  when  I  perceive 
the  candor  with  which  I  am  judged  by  your  justice  and 
discernment ;  and  that,  notwithstanding  the  slanders  of  the 
Saints,  my  fellow  citizens  have  thought  me  worthy  of 
trust.  The  imputations  of  irreligion  having  spent  their 
force,  they  think  an  imputation  of  change  might  now  be 


128  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1816 

turned  to  account  as  a  bolster  for  their  duperies.     I  shall 
leave  them  as  heretofore  to  grope  on  in  the  dark. 

Our  family,  at  Monticello  is  all  in  good  health.  Ellen 
speaking  of  you  with  affection,  and  Mrs.  Randolph  al- 
ways regretting  the  accident  which  so  far  deprived  her 
of  the  happiness  of  your  former  visit.  She  still  cherishes 
the  hope  of  some  future  renewal  of  that  kindness;  in 
which  we  all  join  her,  as  an  assurance  of  affectionate 
attachment  and  respect.  Th.  Jefferson. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  Wednesday  morning.  [1816] 
Good  Heavens!  my  dear  sister,  what  a  picture  have 
you  drawn  of  my  good,  my  old  friend  Col.  Johnson.  The 
most  tender  hearted,  mild,  affectionate  and  benevolent  of 
men.  He  a  man  of  blood!  He  delight  more  in  the 
sword  than  the  Pen!  He,  whose  countenance  beams 
with  good  will  to  all,  whose  soul  seems  to  feed  on  the  milk 
of  human  kindness!  No  indeed,  never  did  he  draw  his 
sword,  but  to  defend  his  invaded  country.  War  is  not  his 
trade,  and  when  he  fought,  it  was  not  for  hire.  At  the 
time  when  the  western  states  were  attack'd,  he  by  his  own 
personal  influence  rais'd  a  volunteer  corps  of  young  men 
of  family  and  education,  who  follow'd  him  thro'  every 
danger,  hardship  and  suffering  to  our  frontier,  and  with 
a  deep  river  on  one  side,  an  impassable  marsh  on  the 
other,  he  attack'd  a  large  body  of  indians,  with  a  cool 
and  determined  bravery,  which  none  but  great  souls  can 
[torn  out].  During  his  march  thro'  the  enemy's  country, 
the  women  and  children  of  the  English  came  to  him  for 
protection,  and  never  came  in  vain.  He  would  not  allow 
his  men  to  pick  even  an  apple  from  a  tree,  tho'  often 


i8i6]       COL.   JOHNSON    OF    KENTUCKY        129 

almost  fainting  from  want.  After  vanquishing  the  en- 
emy he  return'd  home,  covered  with  glory  and  wounds, 
and  more  than  ever  beloved  by  his  countrymen,  and  is 
now  without  any  comparison  the  most  popular  and  re- 
spected member  from  Kentucky.  Mr.  Clay  would  stand 
no  chance  if  opposed  to  him.  He  is  a  man  of  domestic 
habits  and  disposition,  and  his  mild  and  amiable  dis- 
position was  not  alter'd  by  a  short  campaign.  Last 
winter  when  he  defended  the  widow  and  the  orphan's 
cause  (in  the  case  of  Mrs.  Hamilton)1  as  pathetically 
as  eloquently,  there  was  scarcely  a  dry  eye  in  the  house. 
His  eloquence  is  not  that  of  imagination,  but  of  the 
heart.  His  mind  is  not  highly  cultivated,  or  rather  I 
should  say  his  taste.  He  has  always  been  too  much  a 
man  of  business  to  have  much  time  for  reading.  He 
is  one  of  the  leading  men  in  Congress,  and  therefore  on 
a  number  of  committees.  He  might  have  been  quite  a 
fashionable  man,  as  he  is  always  invited  to  parties.  But 
he  preferr'd  home  and  is  plain  in  dress  and  manners.  I 
should  not  so  warmly  have  vindicated  a  favorite,  but  that 
I  shrewdly  suspect  he  is  a  great  admirer  of  your  daughter. 
And  I  most  sincerely  believe,  if  she  wished  it,  she  might 
convert  him  into  your  son.  He  was  here  all  last  evening 
and  hung  or  if  you  please  sat  enamour'd  by  her  while  she 
play'd  and  sung.  But  Mary  does  not  much  fancy  him. 
She  thinks  him  too  much  too  old  (he  is  about  40),  then 
he  wants  grace,  polish  and  a  fashionable  [torn  out]  and 
above  all  he  lives  in  Kentucky.  Now  I  think  the  last  is 
the  only  objection,  in  all  other  respects,  (as  far  as  I  nozv 
know)  for  my  own  part  I  should  like  him  for  a  son. 
But  Mary  only  laughs  at  all  I  can  say,  and  like  other 
young  girls  thinks  she  has  the  world  before  her  to  choose 

1  Johnson  advocated  the  bills  for  relief  of  widows  of  Revolutionary  sol- 
diers in  several  impassioned  speeches. 


i3o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

and  will  not  have  one  who  to  solid  worth  does  not  join 
the  graces  and  everything  which  is  requisite  to  a  perfect 
character.  I  shall  make  close  inquiries  of  Mrs.  Clay 
about  his  family  &c  before  he  visits  much  oftener,  in  case 
of  consequences.  I  have  passed  the  last  4  days  and  nights 
almost  exclusively  with  Mrs.  Clay,  who  has  lost  a  lovely 
infant  of  three  months  old  with  the  whooping  cough.1 
Mrs.  Brown  (her  sister)  Mrs.  Lowndes  and  myself  di- 
vided the  task  of  attending  it,  and  on  Monday  night  it 
died  in  my  arms.  I  shall  pass  this  evening  with  her  in- 
stead of  the  drawing  room,  to  which  otherwise  we  should 
have  gone,  as  Mrs.  Madison,  who  was  here  the  other 
morning,  press'd  us,  particularly  the  young  folks,  to  come 
every  evening,  and  this  is  to  be  a  full  evening.  But  they 
seem  quite  contented  to  stay  at  home.     .     .     , 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  Deer.  5th  1816.     Thursday  morning. 

.  .  .  .  We  were  at  the  drawing  room  last  night, 
there  were  not  above  200  people,  and  it  was  too  thin  to 
feel  at  one's  ease.     A  crowd  is  certainly  animating. 

Just  as  I  was  dressed  and  just  putting  the  finishing 
touches  by  the  parlour  glass,  the  door  opened,  without 
a  knock  and  in  come  Mrs.  Caldwell  and  Mr.  Finley,2 
ushered  in  by  Lytleton.  I  had  een  to  put  on  my  hand- 
kerchief and  tie  on  my  ribands  before  them.  Mrs.  C. 
had  forgotten  it  was  drawing  room  evening.  I  told  Mr. 
F.  he  had  better  go  along, — meaning  it  quite  for  a  joke, 
but  he  took  it  quite  in  earnest,  and  said,  Why  really  he 

1This  was  their  ninth  child.  They  had  eleven,  six  daughters  and  five 
sons. 

2  Rev.  Robert  Finley,  of  New  Jersey,  a  Presbyterian  divine,  who  founded 
at  this  time  the  American  Colonization  Society. 


i8i6]  MRS.  MADISON'S  "DRAWING  ROOM"    131 

should  like  it  very  much.  "But,"  said  I,  "what  are  you 
to  do  with  your  boots?"  "Why,  certainly,  a  clergyman 
may  go  in  boots."  "I  don't  know,"  said  I,  "but  I  should 
be  afraid  a  clergyman's  boots  would  tear  the  ladies' 
dresses  as  much  as  any  other."  "Well,"  said  Mrs.  Cald- 
well, "there  is  a  shoe  store  near,  and  he  can  get  a  pair  of 
shoes."  "Agreed,"  said  Mr.  F.,  "if  Lytleton  will  show 
me  the  way."  Accordingly  they  went,  and  when  he  came 
back,  he  assured  us  everything  favoured  his  going  for  the 
very  first  pr.  of  shoes  that  he  took  hold  of  fitted  him. 
His  toilet  was  finished  before  the  parlour  looking  glass, 
and  off  we  set,  leaving  Lytleton  who  would  not  go,  (not 
being  yet  equip'd)  and  Mrs.  Caldwell  with  the  girls.  I 
wanted  Mary  or  Ann  to  ride  with  the  dominie,  but  he 
insisted  on  my  enjoying  a  tete-a-tete  ride  with  him ;  this 
was  the  first  frolic  he  said  he  had  had  since  he  accom- 
panied me  20  years  ago  to  the  fourth  of  July  party.  I 
of  course  was  led  in  by  the  parson,  and  had  to  show  him 
how  to  take  my  hand  and  lead  me  in  &c.  Mr.  Smith 
led  Mary,  Mr.  Todd  Ann.  I  anticipated  a  crowded  room 
and  own  I  felt  somewhat  awkward  on  being  led  across  a 
large  room  to  the  place  where  sat  Mrs.  Madison,  Mrs. 
Monroe,  Mrs.  Decatur  and  a  dozen  other  ladies  in  a 
formidable  row.  There  was  not  a  single  chair,  and  had 
not  some  of  the  ladies  rose  to  talk  with  us,  we  should  have 
been  somewhat  at  a  loss. 

The  President  asked  Mr.  S.  who  it  was  led  me  in,  and 
on  Mr.  F.'s  being  introduced  to  him,  conversed  a  good 
deal  with  him.  Mr.  Smith  introduced  him  to  Mr.  Mon- 
roe and  several  other  gentlemen  and  our  good  Parson 
went  home,  to  use  his  own  expression,  perfectly  satisfied 
and  gratified.  Mary  looked  uncommonly  well.  I  think 
she  is  very  much  improved  in  her  looks  since  she  came 
here,  which  is  to  be  ascribed  to  her  improved  health. 


i32  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

She  had  a  fine  colour,  her  eyes  sparkled  and  she  was  per- 
fectly at  her  ease  and  conversed  with  great  vivacity  with 
the  gentlemen.  Mrs.  Madison  expressed  a  wish  that  she 
would  play  and  sing,  as  she  had  heard  that  she  played 
most  elegantly.  But  Mary  declined.  Had  it  been  a 
squeeze,  I  should  have  urged  her  playing,  but  in  so  thin 
a  room,  I  knew  she  would  be  too  conspicuous.  I  will 
not  deprive  Mary  of  an  opportunity  of  displaying  her 
descriptive  powers  and  therefore  will  say  nothing  of  the 
appearance  of  the  French  Legation,  which  was  superb, 
but  not  so  genteel  as  the  plain  clothes  of  the  English. 
The  circle,  last  evening,  was  not  so  imposing,  as  the  first 
drawing  room  the  girls  went  to  last  winter  and  even  if 
it  had  been  I  do  not  think  Mary  would  have  been  in  such 
ecstatics.  Mary  is  much  more  quiet  in  the  expression 
of  her  feelings  and  on  that  account  a  much  greater  favo- 
rite with  my  good  husband.  I  never  knew  Mr.  Smith  to 
be  so  much  pleased  with  any  young  person,  he  frequently 
when  alone  commends  her  in  the  highest  terms.  I  could 
spend  my  whole  life  happily  with  Mary,  I  never  before 
have  met  with  a  disposition  which  so  perfectly  accords 
with  mine. 

I  now  begin  to  feel  settled.  My  domestic  arrange- 
ments are  all  made  and  my  servants  so  good  that  I  have 
nothing  to  do.  I  scarcely  realize  I  am  keeping  house. 
The  change  from  our  country  establishment  is  very 
agreeable.  There  I  had  such  a  variety  of  things  and  per- 
sons to  attend  to  without,  as  well  as  within  doors,  and  a 
kitchen  so  crowded  with  farm  servants  and  children,  that 
I  had  little  pleasure  in  performing  my  household  duties. 
But  here  I  have  a  most  excellent  woman  in  the  kitchen, 
who  keeps  the  key  of  the  store  room  and  goes  thro'  her 
work  without  requiring  any  direction  from  me.  A  very 
good  girl  does  the  chamber  work  and  washing,  an  un- 


i8i6]  DOMESTIC    ARRANGEMENTS  133 

commonly  good  boy  waits  in  the  house  and  Mr.  Tracy 
who  drives  the  carriage,  supplies  all  the  deficiencies  in  the 
others.  He  markets,  and  shops,  and  goes  of  errands, 
puts  up  curtains,  bedsteads  &c — in  fact  is  my  maitre 
d'hotcl  as  well  as  coachman.  So  that  I  am  a  lady  at  large 
with  nothing  in  the  world  to  do,  but  sit  up  for  company, 
and  make  visits.  I  go  in  the  kitchen  for  5  or  6  minutes 
before  breakfast,  give  my  orders  for  dinner,  then  give 
the  girls  their  breakfast,  send  them  to  school.  I  arrange 
my  side-board  and  closet  in  the  dining-room,  which  takes 
me  until  10  o'clock,  then  dress,  seat  myself  in  my  corner 
on  the  settee,  and  give  my  little  ones  their  lessons,  a  little 
sewing,  and  a  little  reading  diversify  the  morning.  We 
have  not  had  much  company  as  yet,  and  as  I  do  not  in- 
tend visiting  as  many  strangers  as  I  did  last  winter,  we 
shall  not  have  so  much.  I  do  not  think  Mary  could 
stand  such  late  hours  and  constant  company  as  the  girls 
did,  and  Ann  I  am  sure  can  not — indeed  we  had  too  much 
for  pleasure.  I  expect  to  pass  many  of  our  evenings  in 
a  calm  domestic  manner — sewing  and  reading.  Mr.  S. 
is  reading  the  Odyssey.  .  »  .  I  never  wrote  more 
like  a  task,  and  no  school  girl  ever  found  a  task  more  dif- 
ficult. You  will  easily  perceive  my  stupidity.  I  had  best 
waste  no  more  paper.  Come  Mary  and  fill  it — you  can 
give  more  pleasure.  You  may  as  well  write  as  sit  look- 
ing out  of  the  window — come  along Dear  sister, 

write  me  soon,  a  sweet,  kind  letter  and  that  as  I  said  will 
break  the  spell.1 

Aunt  has  left  me  a  little  space,  dear  Mother,  to  give 
you  an  account  of  our  appearance  at  the  drawing  room, 
for  as  I  wrote  you  yesterday  little  else  is  left  me  to  say. 
I  went  without  the  least  feeling  of  trepidation.  Mrs.  C.'s 
party  broke  the  ice  and  I  felt  quite  at  my  ease.  But  I 
1  The  rest  of  the  letter  is  by  Miss  Mary  Kirkpatrick,  Mrs.  Smith's  niece. 


i34  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

felt  very  much  disappointed — the  ideas  I  had  formed  of 
the  pleasure  of  the  drawing  room  were  not  realized.  I 
do  not  however  despair  of  being  pleased  at  some  future 
time  for  it  was  the  thinnest  drawing  room  that  has  been 
seen.  To  see  the  great  and  celebrated  people  of  our 
country  is  a  very  great  gratification  to  me.  I  was  in- 
troduced to  Mr.  Madison  as  soon  as  I  entered  the  room, 
but  had  only  the  honor  of  exchanging  two  or  three  sen- 
tences with  him.  Mrs.  Madison  was  extremely  polite  and 
attentive,  but  looked  very  ill.  She  had  on  a  blue  velvet, 
blue  head  dress  and  feathers  with  some  old  finery  and 
her  face  look'd  like  a  flame.1  With  Mrs.  Munroe2  I  am 
really  in  love.  If  I  was  a  Washingtonian  you  might  say 
I  worshipped  the  rising  sun — but  as  I  am  not,  you  will 
believe  my  adoration  sincere.  She  is  charming  and  very 
beautiful.  She  did  me  the  honor  of  asking  to  be  intro- 
duced to  me  and  saying  "she  regret'd  very  much  she  was 
out  when  I  called"  &c  and,  tho'  we  do  not  believe  all  these 
kind  of  things  it  is  gratifying  to  the  vanity  to  hear  them. 
It  would  not  however  have  flatter'd  me  half  so  much  from 
Mrs.  Madison  as  from  her.  Mr.  Neuville3  and  suite  were 
there  in  most  splendid  costume — not  their  court  dresses 
however.  Blue  coats  cover'd  with  gold  embroidery. 
The  collar  and  back  literally  cover'd  with  wreaths  of  fleurs 
de  lys  with  white  underclothes  and  large  chapeaux  with 
feathers.  The  minister's  feather  was  white,  the  secre- 
taries black,  and  their  dress  tho'  on  the  same  style  not  so 
superb  as  his.  Madam  and  Mademoiselle  were  very  hand- 
somely dress'd  in  white  sattin.     Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bagot4 

1  Truth  compels  the  statement — Mrs.  Madison  painted. 

2  She  was  Elizabeth  Kortright,  of  New  York,  daughter  of  Lawrence 
Kortright,  a  captain  in  the  British  army.  Her  stately  manners  were  in 
marked  contrast  with  Mrs.  Madison's  genial  warmth.  During  her  hus- 
band's term  as  President  she  secluded  herself  from  general  society  to  a 
considerable  extent  because  of  her  ill  health. 

3  Hyde  de  Neuville,  French  Minister  from  18 1 6  to  1822. 

4  Sir  Charles  Bagot,  British  Minister  from  181 6  to  1819. 


Mrs.  James   Madison. 

From  the  steel  engraving  by  J.  F.  E.  Prudhomme,  after  the  portrait  by 
J.  Wood. 


i8i6]  ABBE    CORREA    DA    SERRA  135 

were  both  in  complete  black.  The  Abbe  Corier1  the  Por- 
tugese minister  is  a  venerable  old  gentleman  and  a  man  of 
great  learning ;  he  speaks  five  languages  perfectly.  Com- 
modore and  Mrs.  Decatur  were  very  brilliant.  The  Sec- 
retaries (except  Mr.  Munroe)  were  not  there.  Mr.  Neu- 
vill  enquired  after  you  and  says  he  regrets  his  jo  lie 
bcrgere,  that  a  shepherd's  life  is  much  happier  than  that 
of  a  public  man.  Mr.  Bourquinay  and  Mr.  Thierrie  (my 
favourite)  called  to  see  us  yesterday  morning,  the  former 
improves  on  acquaintance  and  look'd  quite  handsome  in 
his  full  dress.  I  met  at  Miss  Duval's  this  morning  Mr. 
Hughes  and  Mr.  Antrobus,  the  secretaries  of  the  British 
Legation.  They  are  sprightly,  intelligent  young  men, 
but  not  to  compare  with  Mr.  Bagot.  We  paid  some 
visits  this  morning  to  Mrs.  Seaton  and  Miss  Gales  sisters 
of  Joscy  Gales  as  we  say,  Mr.  Blake,  Mrs.  Van  Ness  and 
Mrs.  Clay,  whose  youngest  child  is  very  ill  with  the 
whooping  cough.  Tomorrow  evening  we  are  to  take 
tea  sociably  with  Mrs.  Meigs.  I  feel  very  anxious  to 
hear  of  Elizabeth.  I  hope  by  this  time  she  is  enjoying 
her  usual  health.  Tell  me  particularly  how  she  is  and 
how  your  uncle  and  general  health  is.  My  kindest  love 
to  my  dear  father  and  the  girls  and  to  all  my  friends 
individually.  How  do  you  like  the  new  divinities,  Mr. 
Kissgin  and  does  Mr.  Vanzant  visit  you  as  often  as  he 
did  last  summer  ?  My  next  letter  will  be  to  Elizabeth  if 
I  can  find  enough  to  amuse  her.  Farewell  beloved 
Mother — may  Heaven  bless  and  preserve  you.  Mr. 
Kent  hasent  yet  arrived. 

1  Jose*  Correa  da  Serra,  Minister  from  Portugal,  the  most  famous  wit  and 
epigram-maker  of  his  day.  He  it  was  who  called  Washington  the  "city  of 
magnificent  distances." 


136  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

January  19,  181 7. 

This  is  winter,  cold,  piercing,  winter!  I  am  half 
frozen,  with  my  back  close  to  the  fire  and  a  foot  stove 
beneath  my  feet.  It  was  so  extremely  cold  that  we  all 
agreed  not  to  go  to  church,  for  altho'  we  might  have 
escaped  much  suffering,  our  poor  coachman  would  have 
almost  perished.  The  same  consideration  kept  us  at 
home  last  night,  otherwise  we  would  have  enjoy'd  our- 
selves exceedingly  at  M.  de  Neuville's,  where  we  were 
invited  to  pass  the  evening. 

You  were  afraid  Mary's  health  would  not  stand  much 
dissipation.  She  laid  up  such  a  stock  at  Sidney,  that  it 
enables  her  without  the  slightest  inconvenience  to  partici- 
pate in  all  the  gaiety  of  our  gay  city.  She  says  she  could 
enjoy  being  in  company  every  evening.  We  have  seldom 
exceeded  three  evenings  in  the  week,  altho'  we  have 
often  had  invitations  for  four  or  five.  This,  however, 
is  no  great  self  denial,  as  we  are  seldom  or  ever  close 
at  home.  Mary  has  given  you  I  suppose  some  account 
of  our  large  party  at  home.  I  invited  170,  and  then 
offended  several  families  I  was  obliged  to  omit;  about 
120  came.  I  had  4  musicians  from  the  Marine  Band, 
and  the  goodness  of  the  musick  greatly  increased  the 
pleasures  of  the  evening.  Mrs.  Barlowe  seem'd  about 
as  anxious  as  if  it  had  been  her  own  party,  and  wished 
me  to  make  use  of  her  servants  and  everything  in  her 
house,  which  could  add  to  the  elegance  of  the  party.  I 
accepted  but  a  small  portion  of  what  she  offer'd ;  the  kind 
Mrs.  Bomford,1  came  early  in  the  morning  and  assisted 

1  A  sister  of  Joel  Barlow  who  was  married  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  George 
Bomford,  a  distinguished  officer  of  the  army.  Their  daughter  married 
Benjamin  Lincoln  Lear,  son  by  his  first  marriage  of  Tobias  Lear,  Washing- 
ton's secretary. 


i8i7]  MRS.    SMITH'S    PARTY  137 

in  all  the  arrangements.  We  had  four  rooms  open,  two 
down-stairs  for  dancing,  one  parlour  and  one  supper 
room  up  stairs,  the  table  was  so  arranged  that  25  or  30 
could  sit  down  at  a  time  and  a  side  board  of  dishes  sup- 
plied those  that  were  consumed  at  table.  Such  a  party 
could  give  me  no  pleasure,  but  I  hope  it  did  others.  We 
were  so  constantly  in  company  the  whole  week  before, 
that  I  was  completely  tired  and  half  resolved  to  stay  at 
home  the  rest  of  the  winter, — but  four  or  five  days  rest 
restored  me  my  good  health  and  spirits.  I  did  not  go 
on  Monday  with  the  girls  to  the  concert,  but  on  Wed- 
nesday accompanied  Mary  to  the  drawing-room.  I  went 
purely  from  the  desire  of  pleasing  her,  but  was  rewarded 
for  my  complaisance,  not  only  by  the  sight  of  her  plea- 
sure, but  by  my  own  enjoyment.  Independent  of  the 
affections,  I  know  of  no  pleasure  equal  to  that  derived 
from  the  conversation  of  men  of  genius.  And  this  I 
enjoy'd  in  an  unusual  degree.  Governor  Barbour1  (of 
Virginia)  now  in  the  Senate,  is  a  man  of  fashion,  a  man 
of  the  world,  and  to  all  the  graces  joins  the  most  charm- 
ing manners  and  high  talents.  He  has  so  much  ardour 
and  enthusiasm,  that  one  might  almost  call  him  romantic; 
he  has  a  beautiful  daughter  to  whom  that  epithet  justly 
applies,  and  who  is  a  girl  of  Genius,  with  all  the  faults 
generally  attached  to  that  character,  but  with  all  its 
charms.  The  father  and  daughter  join'd  our  party  for 
the  evening;  Gen'l  Harrison,  (our  Western  Hero)  Col. 
Taylor,  a  most  agreeable  man  from  S.  Carolina  and  sev- 
eral others,  enlarged  the  little  circle,  we  formed  on  one 
side  the  fire  place.  But  the  one  who  most  interested  me, 
was  Mr.  Gillrnore,  a  young  Virginian,  introduced  to  me 
by  Miss  Barbour.     He  is  called  the  future  hope  of  Vir- 

1  James    Barbour,    afterwards   Secretary  of  War  under  John   Quincy 
Adams,  and  Minister  to  England  1828-29. 


138  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

ginia — its  ornament !— its  bright  star !  I  had  a  long,  ani- 
mated, and  interesting  conversation  with  him,  really  the 
greatest  intellectual  feast  I  have  long  had.  He  is  the 
enthusiastic  admirer  of  my  dear  and  revered  Mr.  Jeffer- 
son, and  a  familiar  inmate  of  his  family.  During  the 
last  year  he  has  been  the  traveling  friend  and  pupil  of 
Abbe  Correa,  with  him  he  has  explored  the  mountains, 
the  valleys  and  rivers  of  Virginia,  and  describes  its  sub- 
lime and  its  beautiful  scenery,  with  all  the  rapture  and 
enthusiasm  of  genius  and  youth.  While  I  was  thus  en- 
gaged, Mary  and  Ann  were  surrounded  with  their  beaux 
and  lost  the  pleasure  of  making  the  acquaintance  of  this 
interesting  young  man.  I  asked  him  and  Govr.  and  Miss 
Barbour  to  pass  the  next  evening,  together  with  Genl. 
Harrison  and  Col.  Taylor, — the  two  last  were  engaged. 
This  evening  Mary  Ann  look'd  better  than  I  have  ever 
seen  her.  When  we  first  went  in,  the  chairs  round  Mrs. 
Madison  were  occupied  and  we  seated  ourselves  on  the 
opposite  side  of  the  fire  and  were  the  only  party  on  that 
side  of  the  room ;  few  persons  had  yet  arrived,  the  room 
was  empty.  We  had  not  been  long  seated  when  Mrs. 
Madison  cross'd  the  room  and  going  up  to  Mary,  took 
her  hand  and  after  the  usual  compliments,  told  her  she 
had  a  great  secret  to  communicate,  but  should  not  do  it, 
until  the  end  of  the  evening.  A  great  deal  of  rallying  on 
both  sides  took  place, — when  Mrs.  M.  told  her  that  a 
gentleman  who  had  fallen  in  love  with  her,  who  was  a 
friend  of  hers,  had  made  her  his  confidant,  that  he  was 
to  be  there,  and  she  would  not  tell  Mary  his  name  until 
she  saw  how  Mary  treated  him.  All  this  time  she  held 
Mary's  hand.  The  conversation  was  carried  on  with  so 
much  animation,  that  it  drew  the  attention  of  those 
around.  Mary's  eyes  sparkled,  she  had  a  brilliant  colour, 
(which  however  she  always  has)  she  spoke  with  great 


i8i7]      A    "SQUEEZE"    AT    MRS.    MEIGS'        139 

vivacity  and  look'd  really  very  handsome,  and  more  per- 
sons than  I  thought  so.  Mary's  beauty  depends  almost 
entirely  on  expression,  manner  and  colour.  Her  black 
eyes  and  hair,  her  white  teeth  and  vivid  bloom,  when 
heightened  by  fine  spirits,  really  makes  her  beautiful  and 
you  would  scarcely  know  her  to  be  the  same,  when  silent, 
quiet,  and  uninterested.  She  has  always  a  fine  colour 
and  says  she  never  in  her  life  enjoy'd  such  high  health. 
I  asked  a  friend  who  was  in  the  way  of  hearing  such 
things,  in  what  manner  Mary  was  spoken  of.  She  said 
many  called  her  handsome,  but  she  was  most  generally 
admired  for  her  intelligence,  her  expression  and  anima- 
tion— that  every  one  thought  her  an  uncommonly  sensi- 
ble girl  and  all  liked  her  for  the  way  in  which  she  used 
her  sense,  no  pedantry,  no  kind  of  superiority,  but  so 
much  good  humour  and  sprightliness !  Ann  hangs  on  her 
arm  and  smiles,  but  seldom  speaks.  She  is  more  inani- 
mate than  ever,  and  alas;  not  so  pretty.  On  Thursday 
evening  we  had  a  charming  little  party  at  home,  whom 
I  ask'd  in  the  morning,  in  a  social  way.  Mrs.  Barlowe 
and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bomford,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Clay,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Brown1  (of  the  Senate)  Govr.  and  Miss  Bar- 
bour, Mr.  Gillmore  Abbe  Correa,  Dr.  Tucker  and  3  or  4 
other  gentlemen.  I  had  a  long  tete-a-tete  with  the  old 
Abbe,  but  could  not  discover  any  of  those  charms  of  con- 
versation for  which  he  is  celebrated.  We  pass'd  two 
mornings  this  week  at  the  House  and  could  I  reconcile 
it  to  my  domestic  duties,  I  should  love  dearly  to  go  very 
often.  On  Friday  evening  we  went  to  an  intollerable 
squeeze,  at  Mrs.  Meigs  every  body  I  had  ever  seen  in 
W.  was  there,  foreigners,  strangers  and  citizens.  The 
girls  had  not  been  long  seated,  before  I  was  separated 

1  James  Brown,  of  Louisiana,  a  man  of  great  wealth,  with  a  handsome, 
fashionable  wife.     He  was  Minister  to  France,  1823-29. 


i4o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

from  them  by  the  pressure  of  the  crowd,  but  from  time 
to  time  I  saw  them,  always  surrounded  with  beaux  and 
to  their  old  acquaintance  I  saw  added  Col.  Taylor,  who 
did  not  leave  them  the  whole  evening.  I  have  not  yet 
found  out  whether  he  is  married  or  single, — he  is  young 
and  very  agreeable,  and  seems  desirous  of  becoming  an 
acquaintance  of  the  whole  family.  For  my  part,  I  talk'd 
a  little  to  a  hundred  people,  but  had  conversation  only 
with  Genl.  Harrison  and  Abbe  Correa.  The  former  to  my 
taste  is  the  most  agreeable,  altho'  the  other  is  extoll'd  to 
the  skies,  both  here  and  in  Philadelphia.  Miss  Rush  has 
been  at  all  the  places  we  have  been  but  seems  to  produce 
no  effect  and  to  be  little  known  or  noticed.  Next  to  the 
Miss  de  Kantzows1  and  the  other  diplomatiques,  Mary, 
I  think  has  most  attention.  I  include  in  the  above  term 
the  Miss  de  K.'s,  the  Miss  de  Onis'2  and  Miss  Louise. 
They  always  sit  together,  stand  together  and  talk  to- 
gether and  never  join  any  of  the  other  young  ladies. 
At  home  Mary's  good  humour  and  good  spirits  are  in- 
variable. We  shall  be  very  dull  when  she  leaves  us. 
Last  evening  Col.  Johnson3  and  Col  Fletcher4  were  here 
(cold  as  it  was).  Mr.  Smith  and  I  play'd  chess,  Jona- 
than, mused  in  one  corner,  Mary  Ann  and  Col.  J.  and 
Ann  and  Col.  F.  amused  themselves,  very  merrily  at 
least.  I  do  not  see  as  many  love  symtoms  as  I  did. 
Mary  puts  no  fuel  to  the  flame  and  you  know  it  cannot 
long  burn  without.  I  have  seen  no  stranger  this  winter 
for  whom  I  feel  so  much  interest  as  Madm.  Neuville.     I 

1  Daughters  of  Baron  Johan  Albert  de  Kantzow,  Minister  Resident  of 
Sweden  and  Norway. 

2  Daughter  of  Luis  de  Onis,  Spanish  Minister. 

3  Richard  Malcolm  Johnson,  then  a  Representative  from  Kentucky.  At 
the  Battle  of  the  Thames,  Canada,  October  5,  181 3,  he  killed  a  powerful 
Indian  chief  in  a  hand-to-hand  fight.  Tecumseh  fell  in  this  battle  and  it 
was  claimed,  although  never  clearly  established,  that  he  was  the  chief 
whom  Johnson  slew. 

4  Thomas  Fletcher,  Representative  from  Kentucky. 


i8i7]  MR.  AND  MRS.  MONROE'S  MANNERS    141 

could  love  her,  if  our  intercourse  could  be  social  enough 
to  allow  it.  They  have  company  I  believe  almost  every 
day  to  dinner,  or  of  an  evening.  Always  on  Saturday, — 
we  have  had  a  general  invitation  for  that  evening.  I 
believe  she  is  completely  weary  of  this  eternal  dissipation. 
I  love  her  for  her  kindness  to  Mrs.  Stone,1  she  takes  every 
occasion  of  showing  her  kindness  and  of  giving  her  con- 
sequence. 

MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

23,  Novr.  181 7,  Sidney. 
►  .  .  ♦  People  seem  to  think  we  shall  have  great 
changes  in  social  intercourse  and  customs.  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Monroe's  manners2  will  give  a  tone  to  all  the  rest.  Few 
persons  are  admitted  to  the  great  house  and  not  a  single 
lady  has  as  yet  seen  Mrs.  Monroe,  Mrs.  Cutts  excepted, 
and  a  committee  from  the  Orphan  Asylum,  on  which 
occasion  Mrs.  Van  Ness  first  called  to  know  when  Mrs. 
M.  would  receive  the  committee.  Mrs.  M.  said  she 
would  let  them  know  in  the  course  of  a  few  days, — this 
she  did,  appointing  the  succeeding  week  for  the  inter- 
view. She  is  always  at  home  to  Mrs.  Cutts,  and  Mr. 
Monroe  has  given  orders  to  his  Porter  to  admit  Mr.  Clay, 
at  all  times,  even  when  the  cabinet  council  is  sitting,  and 
the  other  day  when  he  call'd  and  declined  the  servant's 
invitation  into  the  Cabinet,  Mr.  M.  came  out  and  took  him 
into  the  council.  Altho'  they  have  lived  7  years  in  W. 
both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Monroe  are  perfect  strangers  not  only 
to  me  but  all  the  citizens.     Every  one  is  highly  pleased 

1 A  lady  whom  Mrs.  Smith  had  assisted  in  starting  a  girls'  school  in  Wash- 
ington. 

'  Monroe  endeavored  to  restore  to  the  President's  house  the  stately  for- 
mality which  had  prevailed  when  Washington  was  President.  Mrs.  Monroe 
paid  no  visits.  Her  daughters  also  paid  no  visits,  and  there  was  a  feud 
between  them  and  the  diplomatic  corps  in  consequence. 


i42  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

with  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Wirt1  and  Mr.  Calhoun,2 
they  will  be  most  agreeable  additions  to  our  society.  Tell 
Mary  Ann  that  the  house  of  Mr.  Brent,  opposite  to  us  is 
occupied  by  Mr.  Walsh  and  Mr.  Corea;  I  promise  my- 
self some  pleasure  from  these  new  neighbors.     .     .     . 


TO  MISS  ANNA  MARIA  SMITH 

Sunday,  between  churches,  12  Novr.  [18 18] 
.  .  .  .  Yesterday  for  instance,  before  I  had  com- 
pleted my  house  hold  arrangements,  I  was  called  to  Dr. 
Smith,  the  herb  doctor,  or  as  he  calls  himself,  "The 
Professor  in  the  University  of  Nature."  He  brought 
his  Mariner's  needle,  in  which  he  believes  he  has  made 
an  improvement,  founded  on  a  discovery  of  his  own,  that 
will  establish  his  fame  and  his  fortune.  He  had  just 
come  from  the  President's  who  had  received  him  most 
graciously  and  promised  to  mention  him  in  his  report  to 
Congress.  His  improvement  has  been  already  adopted 
in  our  Navy  and  is  highly  approved  of.  The  design  is, 
to  counteract  the  variations  of  the  needle,  a  thing  that  has 
puzzled  Philosophers  and  Mariners,  ever  since  the  first 
discovery  of  the  magnet.  He  does  not  pretend  to  have 
discovered  the  cause  of  this  variation,  that  mystery  is 
still  unsolved,  but  to  control  or  to  counteract  its  effects. 
To  have  heard  him  talking  to  me,  you  would  have  sup- 
posed I  was  a  mathemetician.  I  repeatedly  assured  him 
of  my  ignorance,  of  my  utter  deficiency  in  scientific 
knowledge,  and  he  as  repeatedly  argued  that  I  was  a  lady 
of  most  philosophical  mind  and  he  felt  certain,  that  I 
could  explain  his  views  to  others  (and  he  wished  them 
made  known)  much  better  than  he  could.  (Poor  man 
he  is  certainly  deficient  in  language,  for  although  nature 
1  As  Attorney  General.  2  As  Secretary  of  War. 


i8i8]  MISS    GALLAUDET  143 

has  given  him  a  most  powerful,  original  and  inquisitive 
mind,  she  could  not  give  him  scientific  principles  or  lan- 
guage.) He  remained  at  least  two  hours, — so  happy!  in 
having  some  one  to  listen  to  and  sympathize  with  him, 
that  I  had  not  the  heart,  tired  as  I  was,  to  send  him  away, 
by  coldness  and  inattention,  for  of  course  you  know  I 
would  not  do  it  by  words.  Then  Mr.  Cutts1  came  in, 
and  made  a  very  reasonable  visit,  and  then,  after  he  made 
his  bow,  I  with  great  avidity  seized  my  pen  and  it  moved 
as  if  it  was  clothed  not  only  with  its  own  share  of 
feathers,  but  with  the  whole  of  a  gooses  wing, — it  abso- 
lutely flew  as  it  transcribed  the  ideas  that  oppressed  my 
brain.  But  ere  one  sheet  was  filled,  the  door-bell  rung 
and  scared  my  goose  away.     .     .     . 

Wednesday,  almost  dinner  time.  Really  dear  Anna  I 
did  expect  a  letter  ere  this.  In  your  last  you  said  I  might 
look  for  one  on  Monday.  Till  I  get  it  I  will  proceed 
with  my  journal.  Mr.  Wood  concluded  my  last  page. 
I  arose  on  Monday  morning  with  more  elastic  spirits  than 
I  have  felt  since  I  came  into  the  city.  After  breakfast  I 
went  forth  on  a  shopping  expedition  and  procured  most 
of  the  winter  clothing  for  the  family,  self  included.  One 
article  I  could  not  get, — curls,  french  curls,  parted  on  the 
forehead,  you  know  how.  You  must  get  them  for  me 
either  in  New  York  or  Phila.  Now  remember  CURLS ! 
I  came  home  excessively  wearied,  but  unwilling  to  break 
in  upon  another  day.  I  carried  my  dress  to  the  mantua 
makers.  When  I  came  home  at  dark,  found  Miss  Gal- 
laudet2  here.  She  entertained  us  with  a  very  minute 
and  well  told  account  of  the  Hartford  Institution,  for  the 
Deaf  and  Dumb.  She  is  an  elderly  single  lady,  very  pre- 
cise in  her  appearance  and  plain.     But  her  language 

1  Hon.  Richard  Cutts,  Mrs.  Madison's  brother-in-law. 

2  Sister  of  the  father  of  education  of  the  deaf  in  America,  Thomas  Hopkins 
Gallaudet. 


144  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

classically  correct  and  elegant.  She  is  fine,  intelligent, 
though  neither  a  very  pleasing  or  interesting  woman,  is 
animated  and  engaged  while  talking  herself,  but  listless 
and  inattentive  to  what  others  say.  How  very  reverse 
of  our  friend  Lydia.  Her  object  in  coming  was  to  con- 
sult me  about  establishing  a  school  here  on  some  im- 
proved system, — full  of  her  own  views  and  ideas,  she  is 
indifferent  to  those  of  others,  perhaps  this  is  the  char- 
acteristic of  enthusiasm  and  that  I  am  as  obnoxious  to 
this  observation  as  she  is.  After  tea  Mr.  Larned  and  Mr. 
Bailey  came  in.  Chess,  of  course,,  engaged  them.  Your 
father  and  Mr.  Bailey,  Aunt  Ann  and  Mr.  Larned.  I  was 
so  engrossed  by  Miss  Gallaudet,  as  not  to  be  able  to  look 
over  Mr.  Bailey's  game.  It  lasted  three  or  more  hours. 
Almost  ii  o'clock  when  it  was  terminated.  Mr.  B.  as 
you  may  suppose,  victor.  Mr.  Gallaudet  came  in  and  he 
and  I  calculated  the  expense  of  a  soup-house,  we  want  to 
establish,  in  connection  with  the  Howard  Institution. 
The  evening  if  not  very  amusingly  passed  rationally  with 
me.  When  Ann  and  Mr.  L.  gave  up  the  chess,  Julia 
arranged  a  partie  for  Bayard  and  Miss  Gallaudet  (a 
wretched  play,  so  slow,  so  precise).  Oh  how  mad  he 
was! — he  wanted  to  have  studied  Mr.  B.'s  game  and  is 
not  very  fond  of  old,  young  ladies,  you  know.  He 
begged  Julia  not  to  dispose  of  him  again.  Julia  asked 
Mr.  Gallaudet  to  bring  Mr.  Noble  here  this  evening 
(Wednesday)  and  invited  Miss  G.  to  come  again.  .  .  . 

Sunday  morning,  Jany.     Sidney  1819. 
.     .     .     .     The  next  day  we  went  to  the  city  and  were 
received  by  Mrs.  Calhoun1  with  the  affection  and  kind- 

1  Mrs.  Calhoun  was  Floride  Calhoun,  a  cousin  of  her  husband.  Her 
mother,  Floride  Bonneau  Calhoun,  was  of  a  Huguenot  family,  and  John  C. 
Calhoun  acquired  wealth  and  social  prestige  in  South  Carolina  by  his 
marriage. 


i8i9]  CLAY'S    SPEECH  145 

ness  of  the  nearest  relative  or  friend.  As  I  had  all  with 
me,  she  said  she  would  take  no  denial  to  our  staying  with 
her  until  the  next  day, — this  we  had  to  decline.  On 
hearing  that  Mr.  Clay  was  to  speak,  I  could  not  resist 
the  temptation  and  told  Susan  if  she  would  go  home  with 
her  father  and  if  he  would  consent,  I  would  stay.1  I 
accordingly  went  to  the  Treasury  to  ask  leave  and  hav- 
ing obtained  it,  took  Susan  to  Mrs.  Bomford's  to  pass 
the  morning  and  according  to  agreement  followed  Mrs. 
C.  to  the  capitol-hill,  who  had  gone  on  before  with  Julia 
and  Mrs.  Lowndes,  in  order  to  secure  seats.  Our  little 
Anna  was  left  in  charge  with  Miss  Eliza,  who  was  very 
kind  to  her.  When  I  reached  the  Hall,  it  was  so 
crowded  that  it  was  impossible  to  join  my  party,  and 
after  much  hesitation  I  consented  to  allow  Mr.  Taylor 
to  take  me  on  the  floor  of  the  House,  where  he  told  me 
some  ladies  already  were.  In  the  House,  or  rather, 
lobby  of  the  House,  I  found  four  ladies  whom  I  had  never 
before  seen — all  genteel  and  fashionable  and  under  the 
protection  of  Mr.  Mercer,2  who  shook  hands  with  me. 
The  Senate  had  adjourned  in  order  to  hear  Mr.  Clay,  all 
the  foreign  ministers  and  suites,  many  strangers  were 
admitted  on  the  floor,  in  addition  to  the  members  ren- 
der'd  the  house  crowded.  The  gallery  was  full  of  ladies, 
gentlemen  and  men,  to  a  degree  that  endanger'd  it, — 
even  the  outer  entries  were  thronged  and  yet  such  silence 
prevailed  that  tho'  at  a  considerable  distance  I  did  not 
lose  a  word.  Mr.  Clay  was  not  only  eloquent  but  amusing 
and  more  than  once  made  the  whole  house  laugh.  Poor 
Mr.  Holmes3  and  Genl.  Smythe4  could  not  have  enjoy'd 
this  merriment  as  it  was  at  their  expense.     As  you  will 

1  Clay's  elaborate  speech  on  the  Seminole  War  was  made  January  20. 

2  John  Fenton  Mercer,  Representative  from  Virginia. 

3  John  Holmes,  of  Massachusetts. 

4  Alexander  Smyth,  of  Virginia. 


i46  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

read  the  speech  in  the  paper,  I  will  not  detail  it,  although 
I  could  repeat  almost  the  whole  of  it.  But  in  losing  the 
voice  and  manner  of  Mr.  Clay,  much  of  the  effect  will  be 
lost.  Every  person  had  expected  him  to  be  very  severe 
on  the  President  and  seemed  rather  disappointed  by  his 
moderation.  To  hear  the  better,  I  had  seated  myself  on 
some  steps,  quite  out  of  sight  of  the  house;  when  Mr. 
Clay  had  finished  he  came  into  the  lobby  for  air  and  re- 
freshment. The  members  crowded  round  him,  and  I 
imagine  by  his  countenance,  what  they  whispered  must 
have  been  very  agreeable.  When  he  saw  me,  he  came 
and  sat  a  few  minutes  on  the  steps  by  me,  throwing  him- 
self most  gracefully  into  a  recumbent  posture.  I  told 
him  I  had  come  prepared  to  sit  till  evening  and  was  dis- 
appointed at  his  speech  being  so  short;  he  said  he  had 
intended  to  have  spoken  longer,  but  his  voice  had  given 
out ;  he  had  begun  too  loud  and  soon  exhausted  himself. 
Meanwhile  Col.  Johnson  had  risen  and  was  speaking,  but 
the  noise  of  walking  and  talking  and  coughing  was  so 
loud,  it  was  impossible  to  hear  him.  He  several  times 
earnestly  begged  that  the  little  he  had  to  say  might  be 
attended  to,  but  in  vain.  Every  one  was  glad  of  a  little 
relief  after  3  hours,  and  after  speaking  without  being 
listen'd  to  the  Coin,  begged  leave  to  defer  what  he  had 
to  say  to  the  next  day.  This  was  readily  granted  him. 
The  gentlemen  are  grown  very  gallant  and  attentive  and 
as  it  was  impossible  to  reach  the  ladies  through  the  gal- 
lery, a  new  mode  was  invented  of  supplying  them  with 
oranges  etc.  They  tied  them  up  in  handkerchiefs,  to 
which  was  fixed  a  note  indicating  for  whom  it  was  de- 
sign'd  and  then  fastened  to  a  long  pole.  This  was  taken 
on  the  floor  of  the  house  and  handed  up  to  the  ladies  who 
sat  in  front  of  the  gallery.  I  imagine  there  were  near  a 
100  ladies  there,  so  that  these  presentations  were  frequent 


i8i9]  CALHOUN'S    HOUSEHOLD  147 

and  quite  amusing,  even  in  the  midst  of  Mr.  C.'s  speech. 
I,  and  the  ladies  near  me,  were  more  accessible  and  were 
more  than  supplied  with  oranges,  cakes  &c.  We  divided 
what  was  brought  us  with  each  other  and  were  as  social 
as  if  acquainted.  A  great  many  members  came  success- 
ively to  speak  to  me  and  Mr.  Baldwin1  and  Mr.  Taylor 
were  kindly  attentive  and  staid  much  of  the  time  near 
me, — otherwise  I  should  have  felt  disagreeable.  At  din- 
ner, I  gave  Mr.  Calhoun  an  ample  detail  of  the  speech, 
which  led  to  a  great  deal  of  conversation  of  men,  meas- 
ures and  facts.  You  know  how  frank  and  communica- 
tive he  is,  and  considering  I  was  very  much  animated  by 
the  scene  of  the  morning,  perhaps  you  will  not  be  sur- 
prised at  our  conversing  without  any  interruption  until 
9  o'clock.  I  several  times  after  tea  begged  him  to  read 
or  write  and  make  no  stranger  of  me,  but  this  his  polite- 
ness would  not  permit  him  to  do.  While  we  conversed, 
Mrs.  C.  and  Julia  play'd  on  the  Pianno  and  at  chess.  At 
last  I  jumped  up  declaring  I  would  keep  him  no  longer 
from  business,  and  proposed  to  Mrs.  C.  to  adjourn  to 
our  chamber. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  Sunday,  14  Febr.  18 19. 
.  .  .  .  As  for  us ;  we  are  thank  a  kind  providence 
all  well.  Dear  little  Anna  is  I  think  better  than  she  was 
before  her  illness.  We  have  again  resumed  our  regular 
occupations  and  time  passes  cheerfully  and  I  hope  not 
uselessly  by.  We  have  until  the  last  3  days  had  most 
delightful  weather ;  so  warm  that  we  could  often  sit  with 
the  windows  open.  We  improved  this  charming  season 
by  walking  or  riding  every  day,  thinking  there  would  yet 

1  Henry  Baldwin,  Representative  from  Pennsylvania. 


i48  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

be  bad  weather  enough  to  keep  us  within  doors  at  work. 
I  have  with  the  girls  passed  many  pleasant  mornings  with 
our  friends  in  the  city,  have  had  more  company  than 
usual  in  the  country.  Mr.  Astley,  Mr.  Buck,  Mr.  Wall, 
Mr.  Orplander  (  ?)  have  at  different  times  dined  with  us 
and  our  good  Capt.  Riley1  has  been  always  once  and 
some  times  twice  a  week  to  see  us.  When  he  comes  he 
stays  all  night  and  is  quite  domesticated  with  us.  Bay- 
ard and  Anna  are  reading  his  narrative,  which  I  read  to 
them  two  years  ago.  It  is  seldom  they  do  not  pay  the 
tribute  of  their  tears  to  his  sad  story,  at  least  Bayard,  who 
is  a  tender  hearted  little  creature.  Since  I  last  wrote  I 
have  often  seen  Mrs.  Calhoun  and  could  not  resist  at- 
tending a  very  large  ball  she  had.  Five  rooms  crowded. 
I  have  seen  every  one  I  know  for  the  first  and  last  time 
this  winter.  I  was  completely  weary  before  the  evening 
was  over,  so  much  for  habit.  Mrs.  C.  always  enquires 
very  particularly  after  you,  and  bade  me  remember  her 
kindly  to  you  and  the  girls  and  to  tell  Ann  to  make 
haste  home,  or  she  should  not  see  her  for  a  great  while, 
as  she  and  all  her  family  were  going  to  S.  Carolina. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK. 

Sidney,  January  30th  1820     Sunday. 

.  .  .  .  We-  have  seen  but  little  of  Caroline  B. 
She  was  to  have  pass'd  a  week  with  us,  but  the  Missouri 
question  coming  on,  she  could  not  absent  herself.  She 
is  quite  enchanted  with  the  debates  and  spends  all  her 

1  James  Riley,  an  adventurous  mariner,  was  shipwrecked  on  the  coast  of 
Africa  August  15,  181 5,  and  kept  as  a  slave  by  the  Arabs  for  fifteen  months, 
when  he  was  ransomed  by  the  British  Consul  at  Magadore.  Mrs.  Smith's 
friend,  Anthony  Bleecker,  prepared  from  Riley's  papers  an  "Authentic 
Narrative  of  the  Loss  of  the  American  Brig  Commerce  on  the  Western 
Coast  of  Africa"  (New  York,  181 6). 


i82o]    ATTENTIONS  TO  THE  CALHOUNS      149 

mornings  at  the  Capitol.  Our  Vice-President1  was  so 
gallant,  that  he  admitted  ladies  in  the  senate  chamber  and 
appropriated  to  them  those  charming  and  commodious 
seats  which  belonged  to  foreign  ministers  and  strangers 
of  distinction,  but  their  numbers  were  so  great  for  some 
days,  that  they  not  only  filled  these  and  all  other  seats, 
that  at  last  they  got  literally  on  the  floor,  to  the  no  small 
inconvenience  and  displeasure  of  many  gentlemen. 
Nothing  could  be  more  brilliant  than  the  audience  Mr. 
Pinckney's  eloquence  attracted.  Every  one  was  in  rap- 
tures. We  intended  to  have  been  one  of  the  intruders 
on  that  day,  but  was  disappointed  by  our  carriage  being 
broken.  Ann  and  I  went  one  day  with  Caroline  and 
Mrs.  McClean,  but  were  not  much  amused.  Caroline  is 
very  affectionate  and  says  nothing  but  the  Missouri  ques- 
tion shall  keep  her  from  us, — the  moment  that  debate  is 
over,  she  will  come  and  make  a  long  visit. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Sidney,  April  23,  1820. 
.  .  .  .  A  few  weeks  ago  Mrs.  Calhoun2  lost  her 
infant  daughter,  about  five  months  old.  The  moment  I 
heard  of  its  illness  I  went  into  the  city  and  offered  my 
services,  and  staid  2  days  and  sat  up  one  night.  But 
finding  the  crowd  of  visitors  so  great  and  the  offers  of 
service  so  numerous  and  pressing  that  tho'  highly  grat- 
ifying to  the  feelings  of  the  parents,  they  were  injurious 
to  the  infant.  I  never  in  my  life  witnessed  such  atten- 
tions.    Ladies  of  the  first  and  gayest  fashion,  as  well 

1  Daniel  D.  Tompkins,  of  New  York. 

2  Calhoun's  residence  in  Washington  began  when  he  became  Secretary 
of  War  in  18 17,  when  his  wife  and  mother-in-law  joined  him.  This  child 
who  died  March  22  was  the  second  he  had  lost,  the  first  having  died  while 
he  was  a  member  of  Congress. 


i5o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Apr. 

as  particular  friends,  pressed  their  attendance,  in  a  way 
not  to  be  denied.  The  President  called  every  day,  and 
his  daughter  Mrs.  Hay,  altho'  in  the  midst  of  bridal- 
festivities  came  three  evenings  successively  to  beg  to  sit 
up  and  was  denied  as  other  ladies  were  already  engaged.  I 
was  one  night  and  she  came  and  sat  all  the  evening  by  the 
child  and  reluctantly  left  it,  but  told  Mrs.  C.  she  should 
come  the  next  evening,  and  would  take  no  denial.  The 
next  morning  Mrs.  C.  recollecting  Mrs.  Decatur  gave  a 
large  party  to  the  bride  and  thinking  Mrs.  H.  could  not 
with  propriety  be  absent,  she  sent  to  beg  her  not  to  come, 
but  the  President  said  it  was  his  particular  desire  that  she 
should,  as  she  was  the  best  nurse  in  the  world  and  so 
she  proved  to  be.  Mrs.  Adams  in  the  like  manner  and  20 
others  would  attend.  This  being  the  case  I  did  not  re- 
main, as  I  found  myself  none  the  better  for  the  duties 
of  a  sick-room.  All  this  was  not  a  mere  tribute  to  rank, 
no, — I  am  persuaded  much  of  it  was  from  that  good  will 
which  both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  C.  have  universally  excited, 
they  are  really  beloved.  Commodore  Decatur's  death,1 
was  a  striking  and  melancholy  event.  The  same  day,  on 
which  thousands  of  his  fellow  citizens  attended  him  to 
his  grave,  High  Mass  for  the  Duke  of  Berry2  was  per- 
formed in  a  splendid  and  solemn  manner,  in  the  morning, 
at  which  an  immense  crowd  attended,  so  that  the  whole 
day,  the  whole  city,  Georgetown  and  Alexandria  were 
in  a  commotion,  for  citizens  from  both  these  towns, 
crowded  to  the  city.  The  afternoon  before,  Mrs.  Cal- 
houn's infant  had  been  buried,  attended  by  an  unusually 
long  train  of  carriages.  This  week  had  been  destined  to 
be  the  gayest  of  the  season,  and  parties  for  every  night 
in  the  week  were  fixed  for  the  bride,  not  one  of  which 

1  He  was  killed  in  a  duel  with  Commodore  Barron,  March  22. 

2  The  Duke  of  Berry  was  assassinated  February  13. 


isao]  MR.    CALDWELL'S    SERMON  151 

took  place,  for  from  the  moment  Decatur  fell,  nothing 
else  was  thought  of.  Mrs.  Decatur  has  left  the  city, 
house,  carriages,  &c  &c  are  to  be  sold,  and  from  all  this 
gaiety  and  splendor  she  retires  to  solitude  and  melan- 
choly. No  one  but  her  friend  Mrs.  Harper,  who  was  in 
the  house,  ever  saw  her,  and  even  to  her,  she  seldom 
spoke  a  single  word.  More  impressively  than  any  words, 
did  these  events  preach  the  vanity  of  honors  and  pleasures 
of  rank  and  wealth. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  HARRISON  SMITH 

Sidney,  Sunday  evening.  [Sept.  1820.] 
Your  idea  has  not  been  a  moment  absent  from  my 
mind,  my  dearest  child  since  I  bade  you  farewell,  except 
while  asleep  and  even  then  I  dreamt  of  you.  At  every 
hour  I  have  said,  "She  is  now  at  such  or  such  a  place. 
She  has  now  reached  Phila,  now  is  sitting  surrounded  by 
such  and  such  friends."  Today  I  have  imagined  the  im- 
pression which  would  be  made  on  your  mind,  by  the  sight 
of  so  large  a  congregation,  the  great  concourse  of  people 
you  would  meet  in  the  streets,  the  sound  of  so  many 
bells,  &c  &c.  And  while  at  church  my  petitions  rose  to 
the  throne  of  grace  with  more  faith  and  fervor,  from  the 
conviction  that  at  the  same  hour,  you  too,  were  offering 
up  yours. 

Never  did  I  hear  from  Mr.  Caldwell  and  seldom  from 
any  one,  a  more  instructive  and  animating  and  consoling 
discourse.  It  was  on  the  necessity,  benefit,  and  comfort 
of  Prayer.  Never  having  been  separated  before  from 
my  darling  child,  I  feel  more  depressed  and  saddened  by 
your  absence  than  I  had  any  idea  of.  Not  an  hour  passes 
I  do  not  seem  to  seek  for  you,  to  listen  for  you,  and  when 


i52  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Sept. 

I  seek  and  listen  in  vain,  my  heart  quite  sinks.  It  is 
with  a  painful  pleasure  I  come  across  anything  that  was 
yours,  and  it  was  not  without  tears  I  appropriated  your 
work-box  to  myself  and  fill'd  it  with  my  work.  These 
lonely  and  sad  feelings  I  know  will  not  last  and  even 
were  they  more  painful  than  they  are  I  would  cheer- 
fully bear  them,  for  the  sake  of  the  pleasure  and  advan- 
tage your  seperation  will  procure  for  you.  With  a  mind 
thus  soften'd,  I  heard  with  peculiar  benefit  and  pleasure 
Mr.  Caldwell's  excellent  discourse,  and  I  felt  that  it  was 
in  prayer  we  could  most  tenderly  meet,  tho'  seperated  by 
such  a  distance. 

I  was  peculiarly  affected  with  one  of  the  hymns  sung 
at  church  this  morning,  it  so  truly  expressed  my  visions 
and  feelings,  read  it  my  dear  Susan  and  think  of  me,  it 
is  the  37th  hymn  beginning 

"Alas  what  hourly  dangers  rise." 

When  you  get  to  Brunswick,  you  will  join  the  family 
Sunday  evening  concert,  sometimes  ask  your  aunt  to  sing 
our  favorites,  such  as  "Far  from  my  thoughts  etc.  .  .  . 

The  morning  after  you  left  me,  accompanied  by  both 
the  children,  I  went  to  the  city,  and  after  a  visit  to  Mrs. 
Bradleys,  went  to  Mrs.  Calhoun's,  intending  to  stay  but 
a  little  while.  She  would,  however,  take  no  denial,  but 
with  friendly  force  obliged  us  to  stay  to  dinner.  She 
gave  Bayard  calfs'  foot  jelly,  sent  for  oysters  for  him, 
and  then  made  him  lie  down  on  her  bed,  where  he  slept 
for  several  hours.  When  we  came  away,  she  loaded  him 
with  jellies  and  cakes.  On  Friday  I  felt  so  lost,  lonely 
and  desolate  without  you,  that  I  did  not  dare  to  sit  down 
to  my  work,  but  busied  myself  in  the  kitchen  with  mak- 
ing pickles  and  sweet-meats,  and  in  the  afternoon  sister 
Ann  and  I  walked  up  to  Mrs.  Cuttings,  who  cheer'd  us  up 


i82o]  VISIT    TO    MRS.    TASSLET  153 

with  her  cheerful  conversation  and  good  coffee.  When 
I  came  home  I  still  missed  my  Sue  but  tried  to  forget 
her  in  caressing  Bayard  and  Anna.  Thursday  and  Sat- 
urday evenings  were  cold.  We  had  a  blaze  kindled  on 
our  hearth  and  enjoyed  our  first  autumnal  fire.  The 
sopha  was  drawn  in  its  usual  place  and  I  took  my  accus- 
tom'd  corner.  You  know  how  I  love  this  twilight,  or 
rather  fire-light  hour,  which  makes  winter  dear  to  me. 
The  summer  then  is  gone !  How  like  a  dream  does  the 
interval  appear  since  I  last  enjoyed  this  hour.  On  Sat- 
urday I  again  accompanied  your  father  to  town,  Julia 
and  the  children  with  me,  on  purpose  to  visit  my  two 
afflicted  friends  Mrs.  Clifton  and  Mrs.  Tasslet.  I  spent 
some  serious  hours  with  them.  Poor  Mrs.  Tasslet  is 
the  ghost  of  what  she  was.  I  never  saw  anyone  so  alter'd 
in  so  short  a  space.  We  thought  her  sorrow  moderate, 
but  alas  we  were  deceived  by  appearances,  she  took  a 
pride  in  suppressing  her  tears  and  emotions,  but  her 
sorrow  has  sunk  the  deeper  and  I  much  fear  injured  not 
only  her  health  but  her  mind.  She  says  Jane  talks  con- 
tinually of  Godfrey.  When  she  eats  she  says,  "Mama 
give  brother  some  of  this,  I  will  save  this  for  brother." 
At  night  she  often  cries  violently  and  pushes  her  mother 
to  the  door,  saying  go  mama  go  for  my  poor  Godfrey, 
bring  him  out  of  that  garden  and  put  him  in  his  cradle. 
Godfrey  is  cold  in  that  garden,  mama,  for  I  hear  him 
crying."  This  she  says  almost  distracts  her.  She  had 
laying  by  her  the  last  cap  he  wore,  which  in  his  agony 
he  pulled  off  his  head.  She  says  it  shall  never  be  washed 
and  that  it  is  seldom  out  of  her  sight.  Poor  woman,  my 
heart  bled  for  her.  Old  Mrs.  Calhoun  visits  her  almost 
daily,  as  she  thinks,  she  is  under  a  religious  concern,  to 
use  her  expression.  I  much  fear  in  the  present  distracted 
state  of  her  feelings  Mrs.  C.  is  not  the  most  useful  friend 


i54  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1821 

she  could  have.  But  stop  I  must,  as  I  have  promised  to 
leave  room  for  a  little  letter  of  dear  Anna.  Bayard  con- 
tinues to  mend  rapidly.     Farewell  my  beloved  child. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  H.  SMITH 

March  19,  182 1,  Sidney. 
.  .  .  .  We  are  social  beings,  and  the  strongest 
mind  and  warmest  heart  need  the  stimulus  of  society — 
but  not  the  society  of  the  gay  world.  It  chills  the  af- 
fections, checks  the  aspirations  of  the  soul,  and  dissipates 
the  mind.  You  will  most  sensibly  feel  the  loss  of  the 
social  pleasures  you  have  this  winter  enjoy'd,  when  you 
return  to  Sidney.  The  family  you  best  loved,  will  have 
left  Washington.  I  mean  the  Forsythes.  They  are  to 
go  to  Spain  in  June,  and  to  New  York  in  the  course  of 
a  week  or  two.  I  will  ask  Julia  to  try  and  see  you  as 
she  passes  through  Brenner  to  bid  you  a  farewell.  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Forsythe  were  here  this  week.  He  looks  thin 
and  pale  and  far  from  happy.  He  has  received  none  of 
that  public  approbation  so  supporting  and  gratifying  to 
men  in  public  life,  so  absolutely  necessary  to  an  ambitious 
one.  His  resignation  I  suspect  would  have  been  ac- 
cepted, had  it  been  offer'd,  but  having  no  private  fortune, 
and  no  expectation  of  other  provision  at  home,  he  had, 
I  suppose,  no  choice  but  to  return.  Mrs.  F.  says  she 
expects  they  will  live  in  absolute  retirement, — this  will 
not  be  very  agreeable  for  the  young  folks.  Indeed  none 
of  them  seem  pleased  with  the  idea  of  going.  Thus  it  is, 
my  dear  Susan,  "our  very  wishes,  give  us  not  our  wish." 
With  what  eagerness  is  public  employment  sought  and 
yet  how  few  who  possess  it,  are  free  from  the  most  harass- 
ing cares,  and  severest  mortifications.    To  fill  the  vacancy 


282a]  FEARS    OF    CHOLERA  155 

made  by  this  family,  we  shall  most  probably  have  that  of 
Genl.  Brown1  and  of  some  Commissioners.  No  one 
seems  yet  to  have  the  least  idea  who  they  are  to  be.  I 
have  seldom  known  such  absolute  silence  observed.  Not 
even  a  conjecture  is  form'd,  altho'  it  is  known  from  good 
authority  that  there  have  been  above  a  hundred  applica- 
tions from  persons  of  great  respectability.  Mrs.  Calhoun 
has  done  her  very  best  to  obtain  the  clerkship  of  the 
board,  for  Mr.  Tasslet.  She  went  herself  to  the  President 
and  others,  but  I  fear  there  is  no  chance,  for  a  poor  man 
and  a  foreigner.  The  son  of  a  Senator  is  to  be  the  sec- 
retary, a  place  for  which  many  applications  have  been 
made,  and  much  interest  used  even  by  the  person  who 
obtained  it.  This  Florida  business  has  rilled  our  city 
with  strangers.  I  am  told  above  a  1000  persons  are  here 
seeking  for  some  place  in  this  new  acquired  Territory. 
The  reduction  of  the  army  has  thrown  thousands  out  of 
employ.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  August  17,  [1822]  Friday  morning. 
.  .  .  .  Our  Bayard  insists  on  remaining  in  the 
city,  even  should  the  cholera  prevail  there.  If  duty  re- 
quired it,  I  would  not  say  a  word  to  change  his  resolution. 
I  could  even  encourage  him  to  run  any  risque,  which  the 
duties  of  public  station  or  humanity  might  require.  But 
this  is  not  the  case.  With  Mr.  Smith  it  is.  He  must  be 
at  the  Bank, — anxious  as  I  shall  be.  I  acquiesce  and  shall 
only  urge  him  to  use  every  possible  precaution.  Several 
of  our  neighbours,  Mr.  Wood  among  others,  are  in  the 
same  predicament;  being  in  public  employ.  A  consid- 
erable degree  of  alarm  and  uneasiness  prevail  in  the  city, 

1  Jacob  Brown,  General-in-Chief  of  the  Army  from  March  10,  1821,  till 
his  death,  Feb.  24,  1828. 


1 56  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

arising  from  several  sudden  deaths,  chiefly  blacks.  Our 
Police  is  awakening  from  its  lethargy  and  are  making 
preparations.  Fruit,  especially  melons,  are  prohibited, 
much  to  the  discomfort  of  the  farmers  and  to  ours  in 
particular.  We  never  had  such  an  immense  crop  of 
melons  before.  The  season  has  been  very  favorable. 
That  portion  in  the  garden,  under  my  direction,  I  have 
had  destroyed,  feeding  the  ripe  ones  to  the  cows  and 
ploughing  up  the  rest.  The  girls  who  stood  by  to  watch 
the  avidity  with  which  the  cows  devoured  them,  said  they 
could  scarcely  resist  sharing  in  their  feast  and  quite  en- 
vied them  the  fine  delicious  melons  that  were  thrown  to 
them.  Our  farmer  will  not  follow  my  example,  but  by 
hook  and  by  crook,  as  the  saying  is,  sells  a  great  quantity, 
people  come  to  the  field  to  purchase  them.  I  hope  they 
will  not  have  cause  to  rue  their  obstinacy.  We  are  all 
very  careful  in  our  diet,  yet  are  none  of  us  free  from 
occasional  disorders  of  the  stomach  and  bowels.  Were 
we  to  consider  these  as  premonitory  symptoms,  we  might 
be  continually  dosing  ourselves  with  medicine.  But  I* 
presume  until  the  disease  does  get  to  the  city,  no  danger 
can  arise  from  these  slight  complaints,  always  incident 
to  the  season.  With  the  exception  of  what  you  say  on 
this  point  your  letter  is  very  encouraging  and  has  inspired 
me  with  a  confidence  I  did  not  before  feel.  Had  I  re- 
ceived it  earlier,  I  should  have  engrafted  part  of  it  in  a 
letter  of  Maria's,  which  the  persuasions  of  Mrs.  Thorn- 
ton and  Mrs.  Bomford  to  whom  I  read  it,  induced  me  to 
publish  in  the  Intelligencer.  We  always  call  after  church 
to  enquire  after  Mrs.  Bordeau.  Mrs.  Bomford  does  the 
same,  so  our  three  families  generally  meet  for  an  hour 
or  two  on  Sunday.  It  was  then  I  read  them  Maria's 
letter.  We  endeavor  to  persue  our  usual  routine  and 
only  once  or  twice  have  felt  depressed  or  alarmed.     The 


i8aa]  DEATH    OF   MRS.    CUTTS  157 

awful  symtoms,  described  by  some  of  our  visitants,  pro- 
duced this  effect.  Poor  Mrs.  Cutts  is  no  more.  She 
has  been  long  extremely  ill.  Our  friend  Mrs.  Clay,  who 
while  in  the  city  was  her  daily  visitor,  awakened  her  mind 
to  religious  considerations  and  persuaded  her  and  her 
daughters  to  be  baptized.  Her  whole  life  has  been  de- 
voted to  the  fashionable  world.  The  distinctions  it  con- 
ferred and  the  pleasures  it  afforded,  the  sole  objects  of 
her  ambition  and  desire,  until  a  few  weeks  before  her 
death,  when  her  mind  was  directed  to  higher  objects. 
She  has  been  my  fellow  traveller  in  the  paths  of  society, 
our  acquaintances  and  even  our  friends  were  the  same. 
Mrs.  Randolph  and  Mrs.  Clay  Mrs.  Bomford  and  Mrs. 
Mason  were  among  her  most  intimate  associates  and 
faithfully  discharged  the  last  duties  to  a  sick  and  dying 
friend.  Mrs.  Van  Ness,  another  contemporary  in  my 
social  life,  is  now  dangerously  ill  of  fever.  Many  of  our 
citizens  have  already  fled  from  the  expected  enemy  and 
gone  to  different  places  in  search  of  safety.     .     .     . 


FROM  HENRY  CLAY 

[1822] 
My  dear  Madam  : 

Dr.  Huntt1  thinks  John2  better  this  morning;  but  his 
fever  continues,  without  any  alarming  symptoms.  We 
hope  to  break  it  to  day,  and  for  the  purpose  of  watching 
him  and  seeing  that  his  medicine  is  properly  adminis- 
tered, I  shall  remain  with  him  and  not  attend  the  Senate. 

Many  thanks  for  the  Jelly  &c  and  especially  for  your 
friendly  offer  of  service.  He  rests  well  at  night,  and 
Charles  and  I  sleep  in  the  same  room  with  him,  without 

1  Henry  Huntt,  a  well-known  Washington  physician. 

2  Clay's  youngest  son,  born  in  1821. 


1 58  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Oct. 

much  disturbance  to  any  party.  In  the  day,  he  is  at- 
tended by  a  good  female  nurse.  I  look  moreover  to  day 
or  tomorrow  for  his  brother  and  his  wife,  who  will  be 
with  me  a  week  or  ten  days.  So  that,  whilst  I  am  ex- 
ceedingly grateful  for  your  obliging  tender  of  your  per- 
sonal attention,  it  will  be  unnecessary  at  present  to  tax 
your  kindness.  Should  a  different  and  unfortunate  state 
of  things  arise,  I  will  avail  myself  of  your  goodness. 

Faith'y  yrs, 

H.  Clay. 
Saturday  morning, 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  Oct.  12,  1822.  Saturday. 
.  .  .  .  Disease  and  death,  are  making  sad  havoc 
in  many  parts  of  our  country,  and  tho'  some  are  more 
dreadfully  affected,  few  are  exempt.  Our  city  is  very 
sickly.  Billious  fevers  are  universal,  tho'  .not  so  fatal  as 
they  have  been  in  other  seasons.  Lytleton,  I  am  sure,  will 
sympathise  in  the  general  regret  all  the  friends  and  ac- 
quaintances of  John  Law,  felt  at  his  death.  The  very  week 
before  I  met  him,  in  all  the  health  and  enjoyment  of  youth 
and  when  he  smilingly  bow'd  to  me,  I  pointed  him  out 
to  Nicholas,  as  the  young  gentleman,  whom  I  had  every 
day  been  telling  him  he  resembled, — the  next  week  he 
was  in  his  grave.  Poor  old  Mr.  Law,  is  they  say,  almost 
distracted.  Two  months  before  he  lost  his  darling 
daughter  and  has  every  reason  to  fear  for  the  life  of  his 
other  son,  who  is  at  Pensacola.  Not  a  family  on  Capitol- 
Hill  have  escaped  disease,  and  Mrs.  Hunter,  and  Mrs. 
Dr.  May,  are  now  lying  so  ill  as  to  afford  scarcely  a  hope 
of  recovery.  Meanwhile  the  awaken'd  zeal  of  Mr.  Post's 
congregation  and  the  other  citizens  is  increasing;  there 


i822]  RELIGIOUS    REVIVAL  159 

are  large  assemblies  every  night,  either  at  the  churches 
or  private  houses.  Mr.  Caldwell,  they  say  is  fast  wear- 
ing himself  out,  but  as  his  health  decreases,  his  zeal  and 
labours  increase.  All  day  he  goes  from  house  to  house, 
exhorting  and  praying,  and  every  night  at  different  meet- 
ings. His  little  daughter  Harriet  is  one  of  the  new  con- 
verts, and  with  twenty  or  thirty  other  young  people,  made 
a  kind  of  public  confession  and  were  prayed  over  in 
church,  as  they  do  in  methodist  meetings.  They  are  in- 
troducing all  the  habits  and  hymns,  of  the  methodists  into 
our  presbyterian  churches,  after  the  regular  service  is 
closed  by  the  clergyman,  the  congregation  rise,  and  strike 
up  a  methodist  hymn,  sung  amidst  the  groans  and  sobs  of 
the  newly  converted,"  or  convicted  as  they  call  them,  then 
Mr.  Caldwell  calls  on  the  mourners  to  come  forward,  and 
he  and  others  pray  over  them,  as  they  loudly  vent  their 
sorrows.  To  aid  in  this  revival,  young  Mr.  Brecken- 
ridge1  from  Princeton,  and  a  Mr.  Testen,  or  Thurston, 
or  some  such  name,  another  navy  young  man  from  Phila- 
del.  have  come  on.  Mrs.  Calhoun  told  me  yesterday,  her 
mother  had  taken  Mr.  T.  out  with  her,  tho'  it  was  raining 
as  hard  as  it  could,  "to  beat  up  recruits/'  (that  was  her 
expression)  for  church  that  night,  and  that  he  never  was 
known  to  exhort,  (for  he  is  not  yet  licensed  to  preach) 
without  making  at  least  half  a  dozen  converts,  that  it  was 
astonishing  the  number  he  had  converted  in  the  short  time 
he  had  been  here.  A  few  evenings  before,  one  of  our 
gayest  and  most  fashionable  young  ladies,  (whose  name 
I  will  not  now  mention)  had  been  converted;  that  whilst 
he  spoke,  she  had  been  convicted  and  was  so  overcome 
with  the  violence  of  her  feelings,  that  she  had  run  for- 
ward and  thrown  herself  on  him,  and  lay  sobbing  and 

1  Rev.  John  Breckenridge  graduated  from  Princeton  in  1818,  and  became 
a  distinguished  Presbyterian  divine. 


160  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Oct. 

crying  on  his  shoulder,  before  all  the  assembly,  while  he 
enquired  into  her  feelings  and  talk'd  most  powerfully  and 
pathetically  to  her.  Mrs.  Bradley,  told  me  that  Mr.  Post 
and  Mr.  Breckenridge  were  now  labouring  in  good  earn- 
est that  they  said  "they  were  going  through  the  highways 
and  hedges,  to  invite  guests/'  viz.,  that  they  went  into 
every  house,  exhorting  the  people,  particularly  into  all 
the  taverns,  grog-shops,  and  other  resorts  of  dissipation 
and  vice.  Whether  all  these  excessive  efforts  will  pro- 
duce a  permanent  reformation  I  know  not;  but  there  is 
something  very  repugnant  to  my  feelings  in  the  public 
way  in  which  they  discuss  the  conversions  and  convictions 
of  people  and  in  which  young  ladies  and  children,  display 
their  feelings  and  talk  of  their  convictions  and  experi- 
ences. Dr.  May  calls  the  peculiar  fever,  the  night  fever, 
as  he  says  almost  all  cases  were  produced  by  night  meet- 
ings, crowded  rooms,  excited  feelings  and  exposure  to 
night  air.  Mrs.  Calhoun,  (the  old  lady)  says  she  means 
to  bring  both  the  young  missionaries  out  to  see  us.  Mr. 
Breckenridge  I  really  wish  to  see,  as  I  know  his  sister 
intimately  and  he  knows  my  friends  at  Princeton.  She 
cannot  get  her  daughter  to  go  to  any  of  these  meetings, 
who  with  many  others,  disapprove  of  them, — of  this  num- 
ber is  Dr.  Hunter.1  "Revival!  indeed/'  said  the  Doctor, 
"I  wonder  what  you  mean  by  a  revival  ?  I  call  it  a  stir  up, 
or  a  fight,  rather."  This,  and  the  Presidential  election, 
are  the  two  animating  principles  at  present  in  our  city 
society.  One  or  the  other  is  the  perpetual  theme  of  dis- 
course. Every  effort  is  making  by  Col.  McKenny2  and 
his  employers  to  get  Mr.  Crawford  out  of  the  Cabinet. 
The  discussion  is  kindling  personal  feelings,  and  the 
friends  of  these  gentlemen  will  I  fear  be  made  hostile 

1  Rev.  Andrew  Hunter. 

2  Editor  of  The  Washington  Republican,  Calhoun's  organ. 


i8aa]  MR.    SMITH'S    ASPIRATIONS  161 

to  each  other.  It  was  universally  believed,  that  Mr.  S. 
would  have  been  appointed  in  Mr.  Meig's  place,1  but  he 
found  those  whose  wishes  would  have  placed  him  there, 
have  now  no  influence.  And  it  was  only  through  him, 
that  Mr.  S.  could  have  had  influence  on  the  subject  you 
wrote  to  me  about.  You  see,  therefore,  however  kind 
and  earnest  his  wishes  for  our  friend  in  Phila.,  he  can  do 
nothing.  The  appointment  you  wrote  about,  is  deem'd 
one  of  high  political  importance,  and  a  high  political  char- 
acter is  talk'd  of.  And  it  will  I  believe  depend  on  the 
President.  I  wish  it  were  prudent  to  write  more  openly ; 
as  there  are  at  present  several  points,  on  which  I  would 
wish  to  write  to  you.  But  I  have  so  often  experienced 
that  our  very  "wishes,  give  us  not  our  wish,"  that  I  now 
endeavour  to  suppress  every  desire  and  every  anxiety 
about  the  future.  We  know  not  what  is  good  for  us; 
therefore  I  cheerfully  resign  the  destiny  of  those  I  love, 
to  an  all  wise  and  all  good  Providence.  Anxious !  Oh 
why  should  we  ever  be  anxious,  about  a  life,  whose  tenure 
is  so  frail  and  so  uncertain!  Every  day,  do  we  hear  of 
the  young,  the  healthy,  the  gay  and  the  prosperous,  being 
suddenly  snatched  from  life.  Lytleton,  I  believe  knew 
Dr.  Clark,  of  George  Town, — he  is  dead,  and  the  two 
young  and  lovely  Miss  Beverly's,  the  sisters  of  his  wife. 
In  the  course  of  ten  days,  all  three,  from  youth  and  health 
and  happiness,  were  torn.  And  perhaps  before  another 
week,  his  wife,  his  father-in-law  and  the  young  gentleman 
to  whom  one  of  the  Miss  B's  was  in  a  week  or  two  to  have 
been  married,  may  follow  them  to  the  grave,  for  they  are 
all  ill  of  the  same  disease.  Ann  Eliza  Gales,  too,  who 
was  likewise  to  have  been  soon  married,  died  after  a  few 
days  illness.     Lytleton  knew  her.     Our  own  family,  have 

1  There  was  an  effort  made  at  this  time  to  have  Mr.  Smith  made  Post- 
master General. 


i62  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

as  yet  been  exempt  from  sickness,  except  one  of  our  ser- 
vant women  who  is  now  ill  of  the  prevailing  fever.  Our 
neighbour  Mrs.  White  died,  whilst  Nicholas  was  here.  I 
have  thus  far  struggled  through  the  season,  not  without 
many  threatenings  of  disease  however,  and  a  degree  of 
langour,  which  incapacited  me  for  the  least  exertion,  even 
that  of  writing  to  you.  Ann's  health  is  much  improved 
by  her  morning  rides,  for  she  always  accompanies  the 
children  to  school.  She  is  in  better  health  and  spirits 
than  I  have  long  known  her,  which  makes  me  much 
happier. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

Sidney  19,  Dec.  [1823] 
.  .  .  .  When  shall  we  see  Mr.  Boyd?  I  hope 
he  will  be  here  when  his  friend  Webster  makes  his  Greek 
speech.1  I  shall  certainly  try  to  hear  it.  And  I  hope 
too  when  he  does  come  that  our  friend  Crawford,  will  be 
able  to  see  his  friends.  He  is  now  shut  up  in  a  dark 
room  and  sees  very  few  persons.  That  horrible  calomel, 
with  which  his  whole  system  is  surcharged,  is  I  do  be- 
lieve the  cause  of  all  he  now  suffers.  The  inflamation 
in  his  eyes  continues,  so  as  to  make  him  almost  blind,  and 
pains,  rheumatic  pains  they  call  them,  have  seized  on  all 
his  joints.  His  head  clerk,  attends  him  every  morning 
and  he  transacts  the  necessary  business  of  his  office  in 
his  chamber.  His  spirits  seem  unimpaired  and  warm 
weather  it  is  thought  will  restore  him  to  his  usual  robust 
health.  His  prospects  are  brightening  in  Pennsylvania. 
The  old  Republicans,  radicals  if  you  please,  disciples  of 
the  Jeffersonian  school,  are  roused  from  their  inactivity 
if  Pensy  goes  with  Virginia,  there  can  be  little  doubt 

^he  speech,  one  of  Webster's  most  elaborate,  was  delivered  January 
19,  1824. 


i8t3]  CRAWFORD'S    CANDIDACY  163 

of  success.  Mr.  Cain.  [Calhoun]  and  A  [dams]  seem 
not  such  good  friends  as  they  were.  I  can  not  tell  what 
is  the  matter,  but  our  politicians  think,  they  will  no  longer 
lend  each  other  a  helping  hand.1  Whether  they  must  fall 
without  mutual  aid,  or  whether  they  will  get  on  better, 
separately,  remains  to  be  seen.  There  is  no  doubt  of 
Mr.  Jefferson's  being  decidedly  for  Mr.  Crawford,2  and 
he  is  a  host  in  himself.  If  he  were  but  well!  But  he 
has  warmly  attached  friends,  not  merely  political,  who 
seek  their  own  advancement,  by  favouring  his,  but  per- 
sonal friends,  who  love  him  for  his  virtues  and  respect 
him  for  his  integrity  and  talents,  and  he  deserves  them, 
for  he  is  a  warm  and  zealous  friend,  where  he  possesses 
friendship.  It  would  grieve  me,  if  when  Mr.  Boyd  came, 
he  did  not  form  an  acquaintance  with  him,  which  should 
verify  all  I  say. 

Your  dispatches  will  not  go  to  Edward  as  soon  as  you 
hoped.  Judge  Southard  who  was  here  last  week,  says 
he  has  detained  the  Cyene  for  Mr.  Brown.  Mrs.  Brown 
is  very  averse  to  a  winter  passage  and  good  naturedly 
begged  him  to  have  a  hole  bored  in  the  Cyene,  or  some 
other  injury  inflicted,  so  that  it  could  not  leave  port  until 
better  season.  The  Judge  told  her,  that  on  the  contrary, 
he  should  hasten  matters  and  begged  her  to  be  in  readi- 
ness. She  gave  up  her  house  last  week  and  in  a  few 
days  Mr.  Brown  departs.  I  have  not  called  to  bid  her 
my  adieus.  I  have  given  up  formalities.  Indeed  I  sel- 
dom go  to  the  city  and  then  only  to  the  house  of  two  or 
three  friends.  The  summer  is  our  gay  season.  The 
winter  our  working  time.  Your  two  last  letters  so  in- 
spired me  that  I  have  resumed  Lucy  and  write  a  sheet  or 
two  every  morning,  when  not  interrupted.     .     .     . 

1  They  never  did.    They  were  united  only  in  their  contempt  for  Crawford. 
'  Probably  a  mistake.    Jefferson  made  no  intimations  to  this  effect. 


i64  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i824 


TO  MRS.  SAMUEL  BOYD 

[Sidney,]  Sunday,  nth  1824,  April. 
.  .  .  .  Mr.  Crawford1  has  taken  Capt.  Doughty's 
farm,  which  is  separated  from  ours  only  by  the  road ;  he 
would  remove  immediately  if  it  were  not  for  business 
with  Congress,  but  he  will  come  immediately  after  it 
adjourns.  He  was  here  last  week  and  seems  to  be  re- 
covering his  strength.  He  walked  over  the  grounds  and 
was  in  fine  spirits,  and  I  trust  leisure  and  change  of  air 
will  soon  restore  him  to  perfect  health.  He  talks  of 
travelling  north,  but  is  not  decided  on  it  and  if  he  finds 
the  air  of  our  hills  beneficial,  I  suspect  he  will  not  leave 
home.  Mr.  Calhoun  has  removed  to  his  house  on  the 
hills  behind  George  Town  and  will  live  I  suspect  quite 
retired  the  rest  of  the  session.  He  does  not  look  well 
and  feels  very  deeply  the  disappointment  of  his  ambition. 
Mr.  Macon  and  Col.  Barton  are  here  and  I  must  close 
this  long  letter  before  Mrs.  McClane  comes.  The  gen- 
tlemen and  Mr.  Smith  have  gone  out  to  walk.  The  day 
has  cleared  and  is  warm  as  summer.  The  peach  trees  are 
in  bloom,  the  weeping  willows,  lilacs,  &c  &c  are  in  leaf. 
Adieu, — write  soon  to 

Yours  affectionately. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  Thursday,  June  28,  1824. 
.     .     .     .     But  it  is  natural  that  you  and  Maria  who 
are  surrounded  by  so  many  dear  friends  and  relatives, 
should  not  have  so  much  leisure  of  the  heart,  to  think  of 

1  Crawford  had  a  town  house  at  the  corner  of  Massachusetts  Avenue  and 
14th  Street.  The  historian  Schouler  (Vol.  III.,  p.  305,  "  History  of  the 
United  States  ")  makes  the  mistake  of  supposing  it  to  have  been  his  "  man- 
sion in  the  country." 


i824]  CRAWFORD'S    PERSECUTION  165 

me,  as  I  have,  who  have  no  interests  beyond  my  own 
family.  I  who  live  as  it  were  in  a  land  of  strangers.  To 
say  this  of  a  land  where  I  have  dwelt  for  20  years  seems 
strange  and  yet  is  true.  The  peculiar  nature  of  Wash- 
ington society  makes  it  so.  Had  the  intimate  acquaint- 
ances I  formed  when  I  first  came  been  continued,  twenty 
years  would  have  ripened  them  into  friendship.  But  one 
after  another  have  been  separated  by  death,  the  ocean,  or 
mountains  and  water.  Mrs.  Wharton  and  Mrs.  Barlow 
have  long  slept  in  their  graves.  Mrs.  Pichon,  whom  I  so 
tenderly  loved  and  dear  Mrs.  Middleton,  are  on  the  other 
side  of  the  Atlantic,  as  are  Mad'm  Neuville  and  several 
others  that  I  admired  and  esteemed  and  some  have  been 
estranged  by  differing  and  conflicting  politics.  For  in- 
stance Mr.  Calhoun's  family.  You  have  no  idea,  neither 
can  I  in  a  letter  give  you  an  idea  of  the  embittered  and 
violent  spirit  engendered  by  this  Presidential  question. 
Our  excellent  friend  Mr.  Crawford,  has  been  tried  for 
the  third  time,  by  a  committee  of  men  of  hostile  politics, 
and  like  gold  thrice  tried  in  the  furnace,  comes  out  more 
pure  and  bright,  his  most  violent  enemies,  with  their  keen- 
est researches  can  find  nothing  by  which  they  can  attaint 
the  purity  of  his  integrity.  It  is  surprising  to  me  that  his 
temper  is  not  soured  or  irritated  by  these  repeated  attacks 
of  Malevolence  and  disease;  instead  of  which  he  is  now 
more  mild  and  indulgent  to  his  opponents,  more  patient, 
gentle  and  affectionate  to  his  family  than  ever.  The 
other  evening  speaking  of  Edwards 1  "I  pity  him,',  said  he 
with  emphasis,  "I  pity  him/'  It  was  just  after  hearing 
an  account  of  the  examination,  in  which  his  falsehood 
had  been  proved,  and  his  embarrassment  and  agitation 

1  Ninian  Edwards  was  appointed  Minister  to  Mexico  in  1824  and  was  on 
his  way  to  his  post  when  he  was  recalled  in  consequence  of  the  discovery 
that  certain  anonymous  letters  charging  Crawford  with  malfeasance  in 
office  were  written  by  him. 


166  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i824 

described,  "Poor  man,  I  pity  him,"  repeated  he  while 
the  moisture  of  his  eyes  confirmed  the  truth  of  what  he 
said.  He  is  now  our  neighbour,  and  will,  I  trust,  be 
soon  quite  well.  He  told  Mr.  Smith  he  would  come  over 
this  morning  and  sit  part  of  the  day,  he  proposed  walk- 
ing, but  Mr.  S.  advised  him  to  ride.  He  is  so  venture- 
some that  I  expect  he  will  make  himself  sick  again.  The 
other  evening  when  I  went  over,  I  found  him  sitting  on 
the  Piazza,  in  a  thin  gingham  gown.  But  I  am  going 
into  details,  in  which  perhaps  you  take  no  interest.  This 
may  be  the  last  year  we  shall  enjoy  his  society,  and  if  we 
lose  him  we  lose  our  best  friend.  But  of  this  I  own  I 
have  not  much  apprehension,  as  I  think  his  chance  much 
better  than  that  of  either  of  the  other  candidates,  and 
that  it  will  be  strengthened  by  the  very  means  used  by  his 
enemies  to  destroy  him.  But  enough  of  what  you  care 
nothing  about. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[New  York]  Tuesday  morning,  [1824]  ■ 
.  .  .  .  We  had  a  charming  party  at  his  house, — 
he  did  it  to  please  me,  which  made  me  feel  a  little  dis- 
agreeable; had  he  only  had  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Johnson, 
Bleecker,  Maria  and  Mr.  Boyd  and  Cooper2  and  Dr.  Mit- 
chel 8  I  should  have  been  better  pleased,  because  it  would 
have  been  most  agreeable  to  his  own  feelings.  I  did  not 
go  to  dinner, — second  thoughts  made  me  think  it  best  not. 
In  the  evening,  in  addition  to  the  above  personages  were 
half  a  dozen  more  literary  characters,  a  most  interesting 

1  Mrs.  Smith  was  on  a  visit  to  her  sister,  Mrs.  Boyd— a  rare  occurrence, 
for  she  seldom  left  her  home. 

2  James  Fenimore  Cooper.     He  seldom  made  a  good  impression  on  those 
who  met  him  for  the  first  time. 

3  Mrs.  Smith's  old  friend,  the  scientist  S.  L.  Mitchill,  whom  she  had  known 
when  he  was  Senator  from  New  York. 


i824]     TALK  WITH   FENIMORE  COOPER       167 

assemblage  to  me.  Among  them  Mr.  Shaafaer,1  the 
german  clergyman.  When  he  enter'd,  the  Dr.  put  a 
chair  next  mine  for  him  and  he  sat  by  me  most  of  the 
evening,  gave  me  a  great  deal  of  information.  When 
Dr.  Mitchell  came  in,  he  recognized  me  in  his  old,  cordial 
and  friendly  manner  and  not  being  able  to  get  a  chair  be- 
side me,  brought  one  and  placed  it  right  before  me,  where 
he  sat  a  long  while,  talking  with  great  interest  of  Wash- 
ington and  Washington  folks,  and  the  happy  evenings 
he  used  to  pass  at  our  house.  No  uninteresting  topics 
you  will  say.  "I  really  did  not  know  how  much  I  loved 
Washington  until  I  had  left  it.  I  have  since  found  it  one 
of  my  greatest  pleasures  to  meet  with  any  one  who  knew 
or  cared  about  it."  This  gave  quite  a  charm  to  the 
Philosopher's  conversation.  When  he  left  his  seat,  Mr. 
Cooper  directly  took  it  and  I  had  a  long  conversation  with 
him  conjointly  with  Mr.  Schaafaer.  I  could  not  elicite 
one  bright  idea,  strike  out  one  spark  of  genius  from 
Cooper,  he  was  heavy  and  common  place,  no  flowing 
either  of  words  or  ideas, — he  is  a  fine  looking  man,  and 
had  I  not  been  told,  I  should  have  fixed  on  him  as  the 
author  of  the  Pioneers,  in  this  circle  of  more  than  a  dozen 
literary  gentlemen.  Dr.  Harris,2  President  of  the  col- 
lege and  two  professors  were  there.  Mr.  Moore,  I  be- 
lieve Maryanne  knows.  I  found  him  far  more  agreeable 
in  conversation  than  either  of  the  other  gentlemen.  He 
was  uncommonly  agreeable, — some  one  has  told  me  he 
admired  Maryanne  very  much.  I  wish  the  admiration 
was  strong  and  mutual.  I  passed  a  most  charming  eve- 
ning, in  the  enjoyment  of  the  species  of  pleasure  I  most 
enjoy.     The  snow  storm  and  two  succeeding  days,  I  sat 

1  Frederick  Christian  Schaefer,  pastor  of  the  St.  James  English  Lutheran 
Congregation  in  New  York. 

2  Rev.  William  Harris,  President  of  Columbia  College  from  1811  to  his 
death  in  1829. 


168  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1824 

all  the  mornings  in  this  nice  library.  Maria  part  of  the 
time  with  me,  she  says  as  I  have  already  some  of  the 
calamities  of  authors,  I  shall  enjoy  by  anticipation  some 
of  their  privileges  and  comforts.  As  I  have  several 
days  been  indisposed,  she  insists  on  my  laying  late  in 
bed,  taking  my  breakfast  in  the  library  and  lounging 
part  of  my  morning  in  my  flannel  gown  on  the  couch 
drawn  close  to  the  stove.  Were  you  to  see  me  reclining 
in  the  midst  of  my  books  and  papers,  you  would  really 
believe  I  was  an  author  in  fact.  The  evenings  Mr.  Day, 
Mr.  Bleecher  and  others,  pass'd  at  home  with  us,  and  Mr. 
Boyd  and  I  seldom  miss'd  having  a  few  games  of  chess. 
A  number  of  ladies  have  call'd  to  see  me.  I  have  at 
least  a  dozen  visits  now  on  hand.  Miss  Segwick,  the 
authoress  arid  Mr.  Hillhouse1  the  Poet,  were  both  to  see 
me  yesterday  besides  Miss  Harrison,  Mrs.  Lawrence 
(Miss  Smith  that  was  daughter  of  former  senator,  whom 
I  knew  in  Washington)  she  is  a  lovely  woman.  I  have 
promised  her  an  evening  if  possible.  Dr.  Mitchel  and 
Mrs.  Mitchel  called  last  week  and  fixed  on  [torn  out] 
for  me  to  pass  the  evening  with  them.  The  friends,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Johnson,  Mr.  Bleecher  and  Dr.  Stevens  were 
asked  to  meet  me.  Maria  went  with  me, — we  there  met 
Mrs.  [torn  out]  and  more  than  a  dozen  literary  gentle- 
men. Cooper  could  not  come,  but  Dr.  M.  introduc'd 
another  author  to  me,  whose  work  is  now  in  the  press. 
He  put  them  in  the  corner  of  the  sopha  by  me,  saying, 
"here  Dr.  McHenny.2  is  a  lady  who  will  talk  of  the 
wilderness  and  the  savages  and  Braddock's  defeat  with 
you,  and  will  talk  poetry  in  the  bargain."     A  singular 

^James  Abraham  Hillhouse,  of  New  Haven.  His  wife  was  Cornelia, 
daughter  of  Isaac  Lawrence,  of  New  York.  He  published  a  number  of 
long  poems,  dramas  and  tales. 

2  Probably  this  was  a  Dr.  McKenney,  but  his  writings  have  not  pre- 
served his  name  for  posterity. 


i8a4]  LITERARY    CONVERSATIONS  169 

introduction,  but  it  made  us  at  once  quite  social.  "These 
are  barbarous  themes  for  conversation,"  said  I,  smiling, 
"can  you  tell  why  Dr.  M.  selected  them  for  our  discus- 
sion?" "Oh,  because  they  are  the  subjects  of  the  novel 
I  am  now  writing."  Then  we  talked  at  large  about 
his  work.  I  knew  I  could  not  choose  a  more  interesting 
topic,  and  it  was  one  I  too  felt  a  peculiar  interest  in.  I 
questioned  him  as  to  his  mode  of  composition,  the  time 
he  took,  &c.  "And  do  you  enter  into  the  feelings  of  the 
characters  you  describe?"  "So  perfectly,"  said  he,  "that 
my  paper  is  often  blotted  with  my  tears  and  I  weep,  bit- 
terly weep,  over  sorrows  of  my  own  creation."  He  has 
likewise  published  two  little  poems.  The  poetry  is  not 
very  good,  but  moral  and  tender.  But  the  poor  little 
author  is  one  of  the  ugliest  of  God's  creation.  Yet  he 
interested  me  more  than  Cooper  who  is  a  very  handsome, 
fine  looking  man.  He  has  more  heart  if  he  has  not  more 
genius.  Dr.  M.  showed  us  a  great  variety  of  natural 
curiosities  but  as  I  told  Mr.  Smith,  he  is  the  greatest 
curiosity  in  his  collection,  he  was  vastly  amusing,  dressed 
himself  in  an  indian  or  mexican  mantle  with  some  out- 
landish crown,  and  a  mexican  sword,  and  enacted  Monte- 
zuma for  us.  Afterwards  he  put  all  the  same  savage 
regalia  on  Mr.  Bleecher,  who  looked  handsomer  than  I 
ever  saw  him  in  any  dress.  We  called  him  Pizzaro  or 
Cortes,  his  black  eyes,  whiskers,  curling  hairr  and  heavy 
eyebrows,  gave  him  quite  the  appearance  of  a  Spanish 
grandee.     .     .     . 


170  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  Thursday  night,  13th  January,  1825. 
.  .  .  .  You  must  know  society  is  now  divided 
into  separate  batallions  as  it  were.1  Mrs.  Adams  col- 
lected a  large  party  and  went  one  night  [to  the  the- 
atre], Mrs.  Calhoun  another,  so  it  was  thought  by  our 
friends  that  Mrs.  Crawford  should  go  too,  to  show  our 
strength.  Last  week  I  was  in  the  city  and  the  girls 
wanted  to  go.  Caroline  and  I  got  in  the  carriage  after 
dinner,  and  in  one  hour  collected  a  party  of  10  ladies 
and  above  20  gentlemen.  I  called  at  Mr.  McClain's  door, 
sent  for  him,  told  him  I  was  going  with  the  Miss  C.'s 
and  my  girls.  In  a  moment  he  said  we  should  have  as 
many  members  and  senators  as  we  wanted,  he  and  Mr. 
Van  Buren  would  muster  them  and  take  the  box.  With 
a  strong  Crawford  escort  we  went  and  passed  so  agree- 
able an  evening  that  this  week  they  wanted  to  go  again 
and  the  gentlemen  said  we  must  let  them  know  in  time 
and  they  would  display  a  stronger  force.  The  company 
last  night  agreed  on  it.  So  this  morning  the  girls  and  I 
went  out  to  make  our  arrangements.  When  we  got 
there,  the  senate  was  sitting  with  closed  doors.  We 
went  for  a  member  who  took  us  in  the  library  and  sent 
for  Mr.  Forsythe,  Mr.  McClane  and  some  other  of  our 
friends,  where  by  the  fire  on  a  sopha  we  made  up  our 
party  and  a  very  large  one  it  is.  As  Mrs.  Crawford  for 
18  months  has  never  been  out,  scarcely  left  Mr.  C.  an 

1  In  Washington  the  chief  candidates  for  the  Presidency,  all  members  of 
the  same  cabinet,  were  Adams,  Crawford  and  Calhoun.  Clay  also  was  a 
candidate  and  Andrew  Jackson  was  gathering  a  mighty  following  which  was 
not  fully  reckoned  with  by  the  leaders  in  Washington.  Crawford  was  a 
genial,  charming  man,  and  he  captured  Mrs.  Smith  completely.  He  was, 
in  reality,  a  mere  wire-pulling  politician  without  any  real  claim  to  the  office 
he  sought. 


i8aS]  CRAWFORD'S    CHARACTER  171 

hour,  I  persuaded  her  to  go  and  promised  to  stay  and 
keep  Mr.  C.  company,  and  here  I  am.  We  played  chess 
until  we  were  tired,  he  retired  early  and  I  am  alone  in 
the  house,  servants  and  children  excepted,  and  embrace 
this  quiet  and  tranquil  hour  to  write  to  you.  Contrary 
to  my  intentions  I  have  been  drawn  more  into  company 
this  winter  than  usual.  I  feel  the  spirit  of  society  awak- 
ened. Never  I  think  did  I  enjoy  it  more.  It  does  my 
heart  good  to  see  Mr.  C.  so  well  and  so  happy.  His 
happiness  is  quite  independent  of  political  circumstances, 
it  depends  chiefly  if  not  entirely  on  his  family, — he  is  the 
fondest  father  and  one  of  the  best  husbands  I  ever  knew. 
There  cannot  be  a  kinder  or  better  man,  and  never  had 
any  public  character  more  personal  and  devoted  friends. 
The  fate  of  the  election  is  as  uncertain  as  ever, — the 
friends  of  each  candidate  are  sanguine  of  success,  and 
tho'  divided  and  known,  as  I  have  said  above,  yet  when 
they  meet,  perfectly  good  natured  and  polite.  And  meet 
they  do,  at  all  the  parties,  and  joke  together  very  pleas- 
antly. I  cannot  perceive  any  animosity,  any  bitterness, 
or  suspicion, — every  one  openly  avows  his  predeliction 
and  does  his  best  to  promote  the  interest  of  the  candidate 
whose  cause  he  has  embraced,  but  it  is  all  done,  (as  far  as 
it  respects  society)  in  a  fair  and  pleasant  manner  and  I 
really  hope  the  crisis  will  pass  without  turbulence  or  diffi- 
culty of  any  kind.  At  Mr.  A.'s  the  other  evening,  there 
were  Jacksonites  and  Adamites  and  Crawfordites  all 
mingled  harmoniously  together.  What  a  happy  govern- 
ment, what  a  happy  country!  Since  I  have  been  con- 
vinced that  Mr.  C.'s  happiness  is  so  independent  of  suc- 
cess I  have  become  almost  indifferent  as  to  the  result.  If 
his  health  is  perfectly  restored,  he  and  his  family  will  be 
happy  in  retired  and  domestic  life.  Pardon  me  for 
writing  so  much  on  this  subject  about  which  you  cannot 


172  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

care  much.  It  is  at  present  so  exclusively  the  object  of 
public  and  private  interest  that  I  do  not  think  or  hear 
of  much  else  and  really  just  now  cannot  write  of  much 
else.     .     .     . 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

Sidney,  January  14,  1825. 
.  .  .  .  Another  evening  had  a  charming  social 
party  at  home,  viz,  Mr.  Cfrawford'Js.1  He  enjoyed 
himself  excessively,  it  was  the  first  time  these  two  winters 
he  has  had  a  room  full  of  company.  He  looked  perfectly 
well,  and  as  this  is  a  thing  which  no  one  will  believe, 
except  those  who  see  him,  his  friends  in  Congress  are 
very  desirous  that  he  should  give  a  Grand  Ball  and  invite 
all  Congress  and  all  the  citizens  and  strangers  and  think, 
seeing  with  their  own  eyes,  they  might  perhaps  believe 
that  he  is  no  longer  a  sick  man.  Mrs.  C.  feels  afraid  of 
the  experiment.  He  has  now  been  secluded  from  society 
for  16  or  17  months,  and  she  knows  not  what  effect 
lights,  noise,  a  crowd  and  the  atmosphere  of  a  crowded 
room  might  have.  It  is  to  be  determined  in  a  day  or 
two.  But  I  wish  people  would  not  like  Thomas  be  so 
incredulous  and  would  believe  without  seeing,  or  had 
good  will  enough  to  come  and  see  without  invitation. 
Mrs.  C,  Caroline  and  Anne  Smith  went  to  the  Theatre 
the  other  night.  We  took  care  to  let  our  friends  in  both 
houses  know  and  to  ask  such  ladies  as  we  knew  were 
friendly.  The  result  was  there  was  an  overflowing 
house,  very  brilliant,  and  what  is  better  still,  with  but 
few  exceptions,  all  Crawfordites.  Quite  imposing,  I 
assure  you.  Mrs.  C.  and  party  sat  in  the  front  box, — 
it  was  crowded  with  members  and  senators  and  as  Mr. 

1  Where  Mrs.  Smith  was  staying,  as  she  had  no  house  in  town  that  winter. 


i825]     A    CRAWFORD    THEATRE    PARTY       173 

Holmes,  who  called  next  day,  told  us  every  one  was  re- 
marking how  ably  Mrs.  Crawford  was  supported.  Cobb1 
and  Lowry 2  on  one  side,  Van  Buren  I  believe  and  I  for- 
get who  else  on  the  other,  with  a  phalanx  behind.  I 
went  the  previous  evening  and  would  not  go,  but  staid  at 
home  and  played  chess  with  Mr.  C.  On  every  occasion 
that  offers,  his  friends  show  Mr.  C.  the  warmest  and  most 
devoted  attachment.  They  will  adhere  to  him  faith- 
fully. Whether  they  will  succeed  in  their  endeavours 
is  doubtful.  Folks  here  generally  consider  Genl.  J[ack- 
son]  as  having  a  better  chance.  It  will  soon  be  deter- 
mined. I  wish  it  was  over.  Mr.  C.  seems  no  way 
anxious  or  impatient,  he  is  always  the  same,  mild,  cheer- 
ful and  affectionate.  The  first  sound  I  heard  of  a  morn- 
ing, was  his  voice  calling  to  his  little  children,  "Come 
here  my  son,  come  here  my  daughter  and  kiss  Papa  for 
good  morning.,,  He  is  excessively  fond  of  chess  and 
plays  constantly  when  not  engaged  in  business.  While 
I  was  there  we  some  times  substituted  whist,  and  we  all 
took  turns  to  read,  as  he  reserves  his  eyes  for  business, 
to  which  he  attended  every  morning.     .     .     . 

February  n,  1825.  Washington. 
The  contest  is  last  over,  and  our  friend  has  failed,3 
this  was  wanting  to  show  his  character  in  all  its  light  and 
brightness.  To  me  and  not  only  to  me  but  to  all  those 
friends  who  have  seen  him  as  near  as  I  have,  he  appears 
a  greater  man,  than  any  dignity  or  office  could  have  made 
him.  He  heard  the  decision  without  any  surprise,  or 
emotion  of  any  kind.     His  first  words  were,  "Is  it  pos- 

1  Thomas  W.  Cobb,  Senator  from  Georgia. 

2  Walter  Lowrie,  Senator  from  Pennsylvania. 

3  Crawford  received  all  the  electoral  votes  of  Virginia  and  Georgia  and 
some  from  New  York,  Maryland  and  Delaware,  but  failed  of  a  majority, 
and  in  the  election  by  the  House  Adams  succeeded  through  the  efforts  of 
Clay. 


174  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  lFeb. 

sible!  Well,  I  really  believed  from  what  I  heard  last 
night  that  Jackson  would  have  been  elected.''  The  day 
previous  to  the  election  as  well  as  ever  since  has  been 
stormy  weather  so  that  Mr.  C.  could  not  go  to  his  office. 
On  the  day  previous,  the  girls  and  Mr.  C.  brought  their 
work  in  the  parlour,  and  we  read  by  turns  aloud  to  Mr. 
C,  but  we  were  often  interrupted  by  company.  A  great 
many  strangers  whom  curiosity  had  attracted  to  Wash- 
ington, were  drawn  here  by  the  same  motive,  wishing 
to  see  how  the  candidate  looked  at  such  a  crisis.  Among 
others  was  our  old  acquaintance  Joe  Lewis.  He  asked 
Mr.  Crawford  how  he  expected  to  spend  next  sum- 
mer ? — a  droll  question  at  such  a  moment !  "Probably  in 
Georgia,"  answered  Mr.  C,  "but  that  must  depend  on 
events."  "True,"  answered  Mr.  L.  recollecting  himself 
and  perceiving  his  question  had  indicated  his  certainty 
of  the  result.  Soon  afterwards,  Count  de  Menou1  and 
Mr.  Ohner  from  Baltimore  came  in.  "So,"  said  Mr.  O. 
after  some  previous  conversation,  "So,  Adams  it  seems 
is  to  be  elected."  Count  de  Menou  was  startled,  he 
looked  at  me  and  raised  his  eyebrows  to  mark  his  as- 
tonishment and  then  coming  to  me  he  whispered  as  if 
in  exculpation  of  his  friend's  impoliteness,  "You  see, 
Madam,  what  a  high  respect  every  one  has  for  Mr.  C.'s 
strength  of  mind,  otherwise  no  one  would  have  hazarded 
such  a  remark  just  now."  Mr.  C.'s  reply  was,  "Why, 
some  still  hope  that  Jackson  will  succeed."  There  was  a 
succession  of  company  until  dinner  time,  among  others 
Mr.  Cambreling  brought  Mr.  Hoar  who  told  me  he  had 
recently  seen  Mr.  Boyd. 

All  the  afternoon  and  evening  we  played  chess.     By 
way  of  a  joke  and  to  increase  the  amusement  and  in- 

1  Comte  de  Menou  was  Secretary  of  Legation  and  Charge"  d'Affaires  ad 
interim  of  France. 


Andrew  Jackson. 

From  the  painting  by  Sully  (1825)  in  the  Corcoran  Gallery, 
Washington. 


i8aS]  "PRESIDENTIAL   CHESS"  175 

terest  of  the  game,  "Come"  said  I,  "let  it  be  the  presi- 
dential game  and  let  us  try  who  will  succeed.  Which 
will  you  be  Mr.  C?"  "Adams,  Adams,"  said  he,  "for 
of  the  two  I  would  wish  him  to  succeed."  "I  will  take 
the  red  pieces  then  and  be  Genl.  Jackson,  so  take  care  of 
yourself  Mr.  C.  for  my  cavalry  can  leap  over  any  barrier 
you  may  oppose.  I  shall  not  be  scrupulous  I  assure  you, 
but  take  every  advantage,  not  heeding  even  the  consti- 
tution of  the  game."  He  laughed  heartily  at  the  idea 
and  said  he  would  oppose  my  rashness  by  his  diplomatic 
skill  and  political  wisdom, — the  girls  sat  round  and  at 
every  advantage  called  out  "Now  Jackson,  now  Adams." 
Stale  mate,  we  agreed  should  represent  Mr.  Crawford. 
( In  truth  it  was  the  result  in  the  Presidential  game  which 
was  anticipated  by  many  of  our  friends  viz.,  no  election). 
Every  game  we  called  one  ballot.  After  five  hardly  con- 
tested games,  Adams  came  off  with  three.  This  little 
conceit  gave  occasion  to  a  good  deal  of  merriment  and 
will  give  you  some  idea  of  Mr.  C.'s  state  of  mind,  the 
night  previous  to  the  election.  The  9th  was  a  snow 
storm.  Unless  you  realize  the  strong  hopes  of  success, 
which  during  the  last  two  or  three  days  our  friends  had 
felt,  and  had  infused  into  the  mind  of  Mr.  C.  and  family, 
you  can  not  realize  the  state  of  our  feelings.  But  I  can- 
not go  into  particulars  for  I  am  fearful  of  trespassing 
the  boundary  of  confidential  or  avowed  information. 
But  this  far  I  can  say,  since  our  friends  say  it  without 
concealment,  and  with  an  indignation  which  they  do  not 
pretend  to  disguise.  The  vote  of  one  of  the  gentlemen 
of  your  state1  decided  the  election.  I  presume  without 
naming  him,  Boyd  will  know  him,  and  this  vote  was 
given  under  the  conviction  that  it  was  to  be  thus  decisive. 
"What  shall  I  do,"  said  he  to  a  firm  and  undaunted 
1  Van  Rensselaer.    See  Mrs.  Smith's  letter  of  February,  1825. 


i76  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

friend,  with  whom  for  more  than  two  years  he  had  acted, 
"the  responsibility  is  more  than  I  can  bear."  "Why  so?" 
replied  his  friend.  "You  are  a  man  in  every  circum- 
stance of  life  independent.  There  can  be  no  motive  ex- 
cept principle  to  sway  your  conduct.  You  are  an  old 
man.  My  vote  is  equally  decisive.  I  am  a  young  man, 
I  risk  everything,  yet  I  have  no  hesitation ;  take  hold  of 
me  and  let  us  stand  firm."  This  was  an  hour  before  the 
balloting  took  place.  "I  am  determined,"  answered  the 
gentleman,  "here  is  my  hand,  I  give  you  my  word  of 
honor  I  will  not  vote  for  Adams."  Not  long  after  this, 
some  one  told  the  firm  gentleman  that  the  other  seemed 
irresolute  and  anxious.  He  again  went  to  him  and 
called  your  N.  Y.  Senator1  to  aid  him.  Once  more  he 
was  confirmed  and  repeated  his  promise  on  his  honor. 
To  give  still  greater  weight,  another  friend  went  to  him, 
as  he  was  passing  to  take  his  seat.  To  this  gentleman  he 
repeated  his  promise  and  said  he  no  longer  was  irreso- 
lute. Yet  ten  minutes  afterward  when  he  wrote  his 
ballot,  it  was  for  Adams  and  settled  the  matter.  The 
gentleman  who  gave  me  those  details  and  lives  in  the 
same  house  said  for  the  rest  of  that  day  and  evening  he 
was  sick  at  heart,  the  defeat  he  could  have  borne  well 
enough,  but  to  be  thus  betrayed,  thus  deceived  in  one  in 
whom  he  had  trusted  as  in  himself,  gave  him  such  a  dis- 
gust to  human  nature,  that  he  almost  doubted  the  hon- 
esty of  every  man  and  determined  to  leave  political  life, 
and  retire  to  the  private  walks  of  life.  Thus  far  I  wrote 
in  the  city,  and  left  off  friday  morning.  The  result  was 
known  at  three  o'clock.  Mr.  Dickens2  who  brought  in- 
telligence was  much  affected,  more  so  than  any  of  the 
family,  soon  after,  followed  Mr.  Cobb,  the  nearest  friend 

1  Van  Buren. 

2  Asbury  Dickens,  Chief  Clerk  of  the  Treasury  Department,  who  managed 
its  affairs  when  Crawford  was  ill. 


i8aS]  CRAWFORD'S    DEFEAT  177 

of  the  family,  and  by  dark,  many  other  friends.  Mr. 
Crawford  talked  of  details  of  the  election,  with  as  much 
ease  and  indifference  as  a  person  wholly  unconcerned, 
and  after  tea  he  became  so  engaged  in  his  game  of  whist, 
that  I  believe  he  forgot  the  recent  event, — some  of  the 
company  played  chess,  some  talked  and  laughed.  It  was 
not  until  eleven  oclock  we  were  left  alone  and  I  can 
truly  say  this  evening  was  not  only  cheerful  but  gay. 
"The  long  agony  is  over,"  said  Mr.  Cobb,  laughing  and 
rubbing  his  hands,  "We  have  ease  and  peace  at  last." 
"Well,"  said  Mrs.  Crawford,  "the  thing  that  reconciles 
me  to  the  disappointment,  is  that  it  has  been  brought 
about  by  the  hand  of  God,  and  not  by  the  designs  of  men, 
and  therefore  it  must  be  right."  She,  as  well  as  most  of 
our  friends,  think  that  his  ill  health  prevented  his  suc- 
cess. The  next  day,  Thursday  and  Friday  and  Satur- 
day, the  parlour  was  never  empty  from  ten  oclock  in  the 
morning  until  ten  at  night,  and  in  the  evenings  we  had 
a  circle, — one  would  have  thought,  instead  of  the  de- 
feated, he  had  been  the  successful  candidate.  On  Thurs- 
day morning  G.  Lafayette  came  and  sat  an  hour,  after- 
wards the  old  general.  The  good  old  gentleman  seemed 
very  much  affected  for  he  is  very  fond  of  Mr.  Crawford, 
he  pressed  his  hand  between  both  of  his,  and  then  sat 
down  so  close,  that  I  really  supposed  from  his  attitude  he 
was  going  to  hug  Mr.  C.  He  sat  near  three  hours  with 
him.  On  friday  morning  General  Jackson  accompanied 
by  Genl.  Swortwout1  called.  I  was  much  pleased  with 
him.  He  and  Mr.  C.  shook  hands  very  cordially,  he  did 
so  likewise  with  Mr.  Smith  who  sat  near  him  and  con- 
versed freely  on  common  place  subjects.  The  day  after 
the  election,  Mr.  C.  received  a  polite,  frank,  and  I  might 

1  Samuel  Swartwout,  of  New  York,  afterwards  Collector  of  the  Port  of 
New  York.     His  administration  of  his  office  resulted  in  grave  scandals. 


178  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

almost  say  friendly  letter  from  Mr.  Adams,  in  which  he 
not  only  requested,  but  expressed  "an  earnest  hope  and 
desire"  that  he  would  remain  in  his  present  situation,  (is 
not  this  a  full  refutation  of  all  the  suspicions  Mr.  A. 
proposed  to  have  concerning  Mr.  C.'s  conduct  in  the 
Treasury).  Without  waiting  to  consult  anyone,  Mr.  C. 
immediately  wrote  an  answer  equally  polite  and  frank, 
declining  the  offer.  Every  friend  who  successively  came 
in  and  heard  his  decision  approved  highly  of  it, — the 
motives  he  assigned  were,  that  his  political  views  differed 
so  essentially  from  Mr.  A.'s,  that  he  looked  upon  it  as  im- 
probable if  not  impossible  that  they  should  ever  agree. 
To  accept  a  place  in  his  cabinet  as  an  opponent  to  his 
measures  he  deemed  as  unpleasant  as  it  would  be  un- 
generous, and  to  be  an  accessory  to  measures  he  did 
not  approve,  was  he  thought  inconsistent  with  honesty. 
Tho'  sensible  of  the  advantage  his  continuance  in  office 
might  be  to  his  young  and  rising  family;  tho'  he  was 
going  home  to  comparative  poverty,  his  integrity  could 
not  be  shaken.  "I  cannot  honestly  remain,"  said  he,  and 
that  settled  the  matter.  What  a  good  and  great  man  he 
is!  To  me,  he  seemed  greater  at  that  moment  than  if 
he  had  been  elected  President.  "Well  boys,"  said  Mrs. 
C,  "only  one  of  you  can  be  a  gentleman  now.  One,  may 
go  to  college  and  the  rest  of  you  must  turn  in  to  plough- 
ing." "And  instead  of  drawing  .  .  .  Miss  Caroline" 
said  Mr.  Cobb,  "you  may  turn  into  the  dairy,  make  but- 
ter and  cheese,  and  as  for  you  Ann,  you  may  go  to  spin- 
ning cotton."  "And  what  shall  I  do  ?"  said  little  Susan, 
"oh  you  shall  reel  the  cotton  yarn.  I  have  a  pretty  little 
reel  at  home  for  you,  that  goes  click  click."  Susan 
jumped  for  joy.  "And  as  for  Bibb,"  continued  Mrs.  C. 
"I  can  find  work  for  him  too."  (he  is  3  years  old)  he  can 
hold  the  spools,  while  I  wind."    All  this  was  said  with  so 


i825]  CRAWFORD'S    POPULARITY  179 

much  good  humour  and  pleasantness,  that  I  was  almost 
tempted  to  think  it  was  what  they  preferred.  The  whole 
family,  including  Mr.  C.  are  much  more  gay  and  cheer- 
ful than  for  many  preceeding  weeks.  Suspense  is  cer- 
tainly more  painful,  than  any  certainty.  Saturday  eve- 
ning Mr.  Owen  of  Lanack,  passed  several  hours  with  us. 
He  is  ugly,  awkward,  and  unprepossessing,  in  manners, 
appearance  and  voice,  but  very  interesting  in  conversation. 
This  has  been  one  of  the  most  interesting  weeks  of  my 
life.  I  have  passed  almost  every  hour  of  it  with  Mr.  C. 
and  his  family.  He  liked  to  have  them  all  round  him 
and  the  evening  of  the  election  would  not  let  the  little 
ones  go  from  him.  Susan  had  her  arms  round  his  neck, 
stroking  his  hair,  kissing  him  and  playing  with  him,  while 
his  little  boy  sat  on  his  knee,  both  children  encompassed 
with  his  arms  and  often  pressed  affectionately  to  his 
bosom.  His  feelings,  (for  he  must  have  felt  on  the  occa- 
sion) vented  themselves  in  fondness  and  caresses  of  his 
children.  It  is  only  through  his  heart  that  happiness  or 
wisdom  can  reach  Mr.  C.  Leave  him  the  objects  of  his 
affection  and  he  will  be  cheerful  and  happy,  whatever 
else  may  befall  him.  But  this  week  was  a  mournful 
week  too,  to  me.  I  felt  as  if  the  approaching  separation 
was  that  of  death,  and  as  I  gazed  on  him,  felt  as  if  tak- 
ing a  last,  a  farewell  look,  of  one  who  for  many  years  has 
been  our  kindest  and  dearest  friend.  It  required  constant 
effort  to  be  cheerful,  which  I  wished  to  be.  One  of  his 
friends,  shaking  hands  with  me  said, — "between  his 
friends,  there  must  ever  be  a  bond  of  union.  Yes,  even 
when  we  have  lost  him."  "Such  a  minority  as  Mr.  C. 
has  long  had,"  said  Mr.  McClean  to  me  "never  could  have 
been  held  together  by  any  motive  less  powerful  than  per- 
sonal attachment.  Never  had  any  man  such  warm  and 
devoted  friends.     For  his  sake  they  were  willing  to  risk 


180  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

their  all; — yea    life    itself."      Nothing    could    reduce 
them. 

After  church  on  Sunday,  Mr.  C.  and  the  rest  of  the 
family,  came  out  with  me  and  spent  the  rest  of  the  day. 
When  I  shook  hands  and  bid  him  farewell,  "not  yet," 
said  he  smiling.  "I  shall  come  to  see  you  again."  Vari- 
ous rumours  are  afloat,  concerning  the  members  of  the 
Cabinet,  but  without  foundation.  Mr.  A.  I  do  not  believe 
himself  knows.  If,  (as  it  is  believed)  the  leading  repub- 
licans will  not  accept  places,  he  will  be  embarrassed,  and 
must  either  take  federal  gentlemen  or  secondary  repub- 
licans. As  yet,  he  has  shown  a  great  desire  to  conciliate 
and  it  is  said  will  be  a  very  popular  Pred.  I  hope  so.  I 
love  peace  and  good  will  with  every  one.  I  hope  his  ad- 
ministration will  do  honor  to  himself  and  good  to  his 
country.  All  sides  show  equally  good  dispositions, — no 
personal  enmity,  no  asperity.  Genl.  Jackson  has  shown 
equal  nobleness  and  equanimity  and  received  equal  testi- 
monies of  respect  and  affection.  To  the  honor  of  human 
nature,  as  much  attention  has  been  paid  the  two  unsuc- 
cessful, as  the  successful  candidate.  For  foreigners  this 
election  must  have  had  something  new  and  imposing,  and 
to  every  one  presented  a  spectacle  of  moral  sublimity. 
These  agitations  and  anxieties  are  now  over,  for  my  own 
part,  I  have  felt  much  and  rejoice  once  more  to  sit  down 
tranquilly.  I  shall  resume  my  books  and  pen  without 
any  wandering  thoughts.  We  now  feel  fixed  for  life, 
the  retirement  of  Sidney,  I  have  no  more  to  look  for- 
ward to  any  change  in  our  mode  of  living.  The  few 
remaining  years  of  my  life,  (if  indeed  years  await  me) 
I  will  endeavour  to  improve,  as  well  as  to  enjoy  in  en- 
deavours to  promote  the  happiness  and  welfare  of  my 
children  and  neighbors.  The  circle  is  a  very  contracted 
one,  but  contains  sufficient  objects  to  fill  the  hands,  the 


i8aS]         TREACHERY    TO    CRAWFORD  181 

heart,  the  mind.  As  for  Mr.  S.  he  is  always  calm. 
Nothing  has  power  to  disturb  his  strong  and  well  gov- 
erned mind.  He  lives  above  the  influence  of  the  acci- 
dents of  life. 

[Sidney]  February  1825.1 
I  have  returned  home  after  passing  a  most  interesting 
week  with  one  of  our  best  and  greatest  men — with  one 
of  our  kindest  and  most  valued  friends.     .     .     . 

When  I  returned  to  the  parlour,  the  gentlemen  were 
giving  the  family  an  account  of  the  election — the  mode  in 
which  it  had  been  conducted  and  the  causes  which  had 
produced  this  unexpected  result.  "Falsehood — dam- 
nable falsehood,"  exclaimed  Mr.  Cobb,  "the  poor  mis- 
erable wretch  after  three  times  in  the  course  of  an  hour 
giving  his  word  of  honor  not  to  vote  for  Mr.  A. — Five 
minutes  after  this  last  promise — did  vote  for  him  and 
this  gave  him  a  majority  on  the  first  ballot.,,  "Do  not 
say  such  bad  words,"  said  Caroline,  "bad  words  and  hard 
names,  will  not  alter  the  matter."  "It  is  enough  to  make 
a  saint  swear,"  reiterated  Mr.  Cobb.  "Such  treachery 
and  cowardice!"  If  Mr.  A.  had  not  been  chosen  on  the 
first  ballot  it  was  calculated — nay,  promises  had  been 
pledged, — that  three  states  that  voted  for  him  first,  would 
come  over  to  Mr.  C.  on  the  second — and  that  on  each  suc- 
ceeding ballot,  his  course  would  have  gained  strength. 
Many  who  voted  for  A.  did  so  only  in  compliance  to  some 
previous  engagement  with  their  constituents  to  make  him 
their  first  choice,  tho'  they  in  their  own  minds  preferred 
Crawford,  and  have  since  regretted,  not  following  their 
own  judgments,  instead  of  the  instructions  of  their  con- 
stituents. It  was  likewise  supposed  that  when  Jackson's 
friends  lost  hope  of  success,  they  would  prefer  C.  to  A, 
1  From  Mrs.  Smith's  notebook.  . 


18a  WASHINGTON   SOCIETY  [Feb. 

and  would  ultimately  vote  for  him.  Such  at  least  was 
the  understanding  between  the  different  parties,  tho'  it 
never  seemed  possible  to  me  that  Jackson  who  had  so 
many  more  states  than  C.  should  ever  yield  to  a  minority. 
The  only  ground  for  such  a  hope,  was  the  known  im- 
possibility of  C.'s  friends — who  had  resolved  at  all  events 
to  vote  for  no  one  but  him,  even  tho'  there  should  be  no 
President  and  that  Mr.  Calhoun  should  come  in — he 
being  Vice-P.  About  dusk  several  other  members  and 
senators  came  in. — The  conversation  turned  on  the  same 
subject  and  every  one  appeared  as  much  mortified  and 
disappointed  as  if  assured  of  success  previous  to  the  elec- 
tion. Two  of  the  gentlemen  proposed  going  to  the 
Drawing  room  to  see  how  things  appeared  there  and 
promised  to  come  back  and  bring  us  some  account  of  it. 
Cards  were  brought  Mr.  Cobb  and  Ann,  Mr.  Crawford 
and  myself  made  the  game  of  whist,  Caroline  and  Mr. 
Lowry  played  chess  and  the  rest  talked  and  laughed  while 
they  looked  over  our  game.  That  ease  which  certainty 
gives  the  mind  after  long  endured  anxiety  and  suspense, 
supplied  it  with  pleasurable  sensations  which  for  the  mo- 
ment seemed  to  overbalance  the  mortification  of  defeat, 
and  relieved  from  this  pressure  the  spirits  rose  with  an 
elastic  spring  and  inspired  us  with  mirth. 

This  seemed  to  me  the  cause.  But  be  it  what  it  might, 
the  fact  was  certain  that  we  were  all  very  merry  and  joked 
and  laughed  in  all  honesty  and  sincerity.  Between  ten  and 
eleven  the  gentlemen  returned,  and  gave  us  an  account  of 
the  drawing  room.  "Luckily,"  they  said,  they  went  late, 
otherwise  they  could  not  have  got  in.  Some  of  the  com- 
pany had  gone  and  made  room  for  the  others,  but  at  one 
time  the  mass  was  so  compact  that  they  could  scarcely 
move.  "Pray  Sir,  take  your  finger  out  of  my  ear,"  said 
some  one,  "I  will,  Sir,  as  soon  as  I  get  room  to  stir." 


i825.]    A   CROWDED    "DRAWING    ROOM"       183 

Some  were  absolutely  lifted  from  their  feet  and  carried 
forward  without  any  exertion  of  their  own.  Persons 
who  never  before  had  been  seen  in  company,  had  got  in 
that  night,  altho'  the  Marshall  who  stood  at  the  door  of 
the  entrance  had  done  his  best  to  prevent  intruders  and 
had  actually  sent  many  away.  Genl.  Scott  had  been 
robbed  of  his  pocket-book  containing  800  dolls.,  and  much 
mirth  occasioned  by  the  idea  of  pick-pockets  at  the  Presi- 
dents Drawing  room.  A  good  anecdote  for  the  Quarterly 
Review!1  "But  when  we  got  there,"  said  Mr.  Wil- 
liams,2 "the  crowd  was  not  so  dense.  We  could  see  and 
move.  Mr.  Adams  was  not  more  attended  to  than  usual, 
scarcely  as  much  so  as  General  Jackson."  "I  am  pleased 
to  hear  that,"  said  I,  "it  is  honourable  to  human  nature." 
"But  it  was  not  very  honourable  to  human  nature  to  see 
Clay,  walking  about  with  exultation  and  a  smiling  face, 
with  a  fashionable  belle  hanging  on  each  arm, — the  vil- 
lain !  He  looked  as  proud  and  happy  as  if  he  had  done  a 
noble  action  by  selling  himself  to  Adams  and  securing 
his  election.  More  than  one,  pointing  to  A.  said,  there 
is  our  'Clay  President/  and  he  will  be  moulded  at  that 
man's  will  and  pleasure  as  easily  as  clay  in  a  potter's 
hands."  "When  Prometheus  made  a  man  out  of  clay," 
said  Mr.  W.,  "he  stole  fire  from  heaven  to  animate  him. 
I  wonder  where  our  speaker  will  get  the  fire  with  which 
he  means  to  animate  his  Clay  President."  "Not  from 
Heaven,  I  warrant,"  said  one  of  the  gentlemen.  "Genl. 
Jackson,"  said  Mr.  Williams,  "shook  hands  with  Mr. 
Adams  and  congratulated  him  very  cordially  on  his 
sweep."  "That  was  a  useless  piece  of  hypocrisy,"  ob- 
served  Mr.    Crawford — "it   deceived   no   one — shaking 

1  The  British  Quarterly  Review  was  generally  critical  in  tone  towards  the 
United  States.  See  for  example  in  the  October,  1823,  number,  the  review 
of  "  Dwight's  Travels  in  New  England." 

'Thomas  H.  Williams,  Senator  from  Mississippi. 


184  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

hands  was  very  well — was  right — but  the  congratulatory 
speech  might  have  been  omitted.  I  like  honesty  in  all 
things."  "And  Van  Ranselear x  was  there  too,"  said  Mr. 
Williams,  "but  tho'  he  too  had  a  lady  hanging  on  his 
arm,  he  looked  more  in  want  of  support  himself,  than 
able  to  give  it  to  another." 

"Poor  Devil!"  said  Cobb,  "one  cant  help  pitying  as 
well  as  despising  him." 

"Pity!"  said  Mr.  L[owry] — "I  have  no  pity' for  a 
wretch  like  him.  If  he  had  not  strength  to  do  his  duty, 
why  did  he  not  confess  it  then  one  would  have  pitied 
without  blaming  him,  but  to  lie — to  betray — to  give  his 
solemn  and  voluntary  word  of  honor  and  five  minutes 
afterwards  to  violate  that  word  of  honor — showed  him 
as  destitute  of  honesty,  as  he  is  of  strength — such  a  fel- 
low I  cannot  pity." 

"Well,"  said  Mr.  Crawford,  "I  do  pity  him,  for  it  was 
weakness  and  only  weakness  that  betrayed  him;  he 
had  no  motive,  no  hope  of  reward,  it  was  not  treachery, 
but  weakness  and  I  pity  a  weak  man,  even  more  than  a 
weak  woman."  "Woman!"  said  Mr.  Cobb,  "why  no  old 
woman  in  the  land  would  have  been  so  weak." 

At  this  we  all  laughed,  particularly  when  some  one  said 
it  was  in  obedience  to  women  that  he  had  done  so,  for 
it  w^s  well  known  his  wife  had  written  to  him  on  the  sub- 
ject and  that  she  ruled  him  with  an  iron  rod. 

This  I  expressed  my  doubts  of,  knowing  Mrs.  V.  to  be 
a  very  mild  woman,  and  whose  character  I  should  not 
suppose  calculated  to  give  her  such  influence. 

"You  are  mistaken  madam,"  said  a  gentleman,  "he 
refers  to  her  on  all  occasions.  I  remember  once  dining 
in  a  very  large  company  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Van  R. 

1  Stephen  Van  Rensselaer  was  the  eighth  patroon.     His  wife  was  Mar- 
garet Schuyler,  daughter  of  General  Philip  Schuyler. 


i8aS]  VAN    RENSSELAER'S    VOTE  185 

Some  one  present  asked  Mr.  V.  R.  if  he  had  read  Baron 
Humbold's  late  work.  He  pondered  some  time  on  the 
question,  hesitating  — 'I — I — really  am  not  sure.  Have 
I  ever  read  Humbold's  work,  my  dear?'  said  he,  reach- 
ing across  a  gentleman  and  speaking  to  his  wife.  She 
looked  vexed  and  hastily  replied,  'Certainly,  you  know 
you  have  read  it.'  " 

"Poor  fellow,  no  wonder  then,"  said  one,  "that  he 
asked  her  who  he  should  vote  for." 

"Pshaw !"  exclaimed  another,  "he  did  not  get  a  letter 
from  his  wife  during  the  five  minutes  that  intervened 
between  giving  his  word  of  honor  and  giving  his  vote." 

"No,  no,"  said  another  gentleman,  "But  Clay,  the 
grand  mover,  tempter  rather — whispered  in  his  ear,  some 
one  told  me  he  saw  him  leave  his  chair  and  go  and  whis- 
per a  few  words,  just  after  Van  Buren  left  him." 

"That  is  not  so,"  said  another.  "I  heard  it  was  Web- 
ster." 

"No,  not  Webster,"  said  Mr.  Vale,1  "I  was  in  the  gal- 
lery and  with  my  own  eyes  saw  all  that  passed,  just  after 
he  had  taken  his  seat  in  the  New  York  delegation,  and  a 
few  minutes  before  the  Ballot  box  was  handed  him  I 
saw  Scott2  of  Missouri  go  and  whisper  in  his  ear,  and 
some  delay  certainly  did  take  place  when  the  Box  was 
handed  to  the  N.  Y.  delegation." 

"Well  it  comes  to  the  same  thing,"  said  Mr.  Lowry, 
"it  was  Clay  after  all,  for  Scott  was  a  mere  emissary  of 
his,  and  had  previously  by  his  arts  secured  the  votes  of 
this  one  too.  Scott  was  irresolute,  until  Clay  got  hold  of 
him,  he  had  him  with  him  until  late  last  night.  And 
altho  his  inclination  led  him  to  vote  for  us,  Clay  had 
power  to  persuade  him  to  vote  for  Adams.     'Ah/  as 

1  Stephen  Vail,  a  resident  of  Washington. 

2  John  Scott,  Representative. 


186  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

John  Randolph  observed  after  counting  the  ballots,  'it 
was  impossible  to  win  the  game,  gentlemen,  the  cards 
were  stacked.'  " 

"And  that,"  said  Mr.  Cobb,  nodding  his  head,  "is  fact 
and  the  people  have  been  tricked  out  of  the  man  of  their 
choice." 

When  the  news  of  his  election  was  communicated  to 
Mr.  Adams  by  the  Committee  and  during  their  address, 
the  sweat  rolled  down  his  face — he  shook  from  head  to 
foot  and  was  so  agitated  that  he  could  scarcely  stand  or 
speak.  He  told  the  gentlemen  he  would  avail  himself 
of  the  precedent  set  by  Mr.  Jefferson  and  give  them  his 
answer  in  writing.  One  of  the  Committee  told  me  from 
his  hesitation,  his  manner  and  first  words,  he  really 
thought  he  was  going  to  decline. 

If  success,  thus  discomposed  him,  how  would  he  have 
supported  defeat  ? 

The  day  of  the  election  was  a  heavy  snow-storm — this 
was  a  fortunate  circumstance,  as  it  prevents  the  gathering 
together  of  idle  people,  who  when  collected  in  crowds, 
might  have  committed  some  foolish  violence.  Indeed  in 
one  ward  of  the  city,  Mr.  Vale  told  me,  an  effigy  of  Mr. 
Adams  had  been  prepared  and  had  it  not  been  a  stormy 
day,  his  opponents  among  the  lower  citizens  would  have 
burnt  it.  This  would  have  excited  his  friends,  (partic- 
ularly the  negroes,  who  when  they  heard  of  his  election 
were  the  only  persons  who  expressed  their  joy  by  Hur- 
ras) some  riot  might  have  taken  place.  Among  the 
higher  classes  of  citizens,  no  open  expressions  of  exulta- 
tion took  place.  Respect  and  sympathy  for  the  other 
candidates,  silenced  any  such  expression. 

Is  there  any  other  country,  in  which  such  earnest  and 
good  feelings  would  have  governed  the  populace  ? 

The  clapping  in  the  Gallery  of  Congress,  was  short  as 


i82S]  VOTING   FOR    PRESIDENT  187 

sudden — it  was  silenced  by  loud  hisses,  before  the  order 
of  the  Speaker  to  clear  the  Galleries  could  have  been 
heard — silenced  by  popular  feeling.  And  a  simple  order, 
without  the  application  of  any  force,  instantly  cleared 
them.  How  admirable  are  our  institutions.  What  a 
contrast  does  this  election  by  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives form  to  the  elections  of  the  Polish  Diet.  They 
were  surrounded  by  foreign  armies,  controlled  by  foreign 
powers.  In  Washington  on  the  9th  of  February  not  a 
sign  of  military  power  was  visible  and  even  the  civil 
magistrates  had  nothing  to  do. 

While  the  electoral  votes  were  counting,  (which  was 
done  by  the  Senate  and  House  conjointly)  foreign  min- 
isters, strangers  of  distinction  and  General  Lafayette 
were  present.  But  when  the  Senate  rose  and  the  house 
formed  itself  into  a  Body  of  States  to  elect  the  Presi- 
dent, the  Senators  withdrew  from  the  floor,  and  all  other 
persons  from  the  House.  "What  even  General  Lafay- 
ette?" said  I,  "Yes,"  replied  Mr.  Lowry,  "and  had  Gen- 
eral Washington  himself  been  there,  he  too  must  have 
withdrawn."  The  delegation  of  each  State,  sat  together 
and  after  ascertaining  by  ballot  which  candidate  had  the 
majority  in  the  State,  appointed  one  of  its  delegation,  to 
put  the  ballot  for  that  candidate  into  the  Ballot  box. 

The  whole  proceeding  was  conducted  with  silence, 
order  and  dignity,  and  after  the  Ballots  were  collected 
Mr.  Webster  and  Mr.  Randolph  were  appointed  the 
Tellers.  It  was  Mr.  Webster  who  with  an  audible  and 
clear  voice  announced  J.  Adams  elected. 

Such  a  scene  exhibited  in  perfection  the  moral  sublime. 

The  succeeding  day,  Thursday,  citizens  and  strangers 
crowded  to  pay  their  respects,  not  only  to  the  President- 
elect, but  to  Mr.  Crawford  and  Genl.  Jackson.  Mr. 
Crawford's  drawing  room  was  never  empty  from  eleven 


188  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

o'clock  in  the  morning  until  eleven  at  night.  This  morn- 
ing he  did  not  seem  as  well  as  he  had  done  of  late.  He 
looked  pale,  serious  and  languid,  but  he  conversed  with 
his  usual  gentleness  and  cheerfulness.  The  evening  of 
the  election,  he  kept  his  little  children  up  later  than  usual. 
At  twilight  they  sat  on  his  knees — incompassed  in  his 
arms — and  he  seemed  to  enjoy  with  even  more  than  his 
usual  fondness  their  caresses.  I  observed  him  often 
press  them  to  his  bosom  and  kiss  them.  Little  Susan, 
kneeling  on  his  lap,  hugged  and  kissed  him  and  stroked 
his  cheeks  and  played  with  his  hair,  until  Mrs.  Crawford 
fearing  she  would  tease  or  fatigue  her  father,  would 
have  taken  her  away,  "No,  no,"  said  he,  "clasping  her 
and  his  little  son  tightly  to  his  bosom,  "no,  no,  leave  them 
with  me — they  do  not  fatigue  me."  And  while  at  cards 
they  were  either  standing  by  his  knee  or  on  the  sopha 
behind  him,  bobbing  their  heads,  now  here,  now  there, 
pressing  first  one,  then  the  other  cheek  and  playing  vari- 
ous little  tricks,  which  on  other  occasions  seemed  to  dis- 
turb him,  but  this  evening,  tho'  deeply  interested  in  his 
game,  he  did  not  check  them,  nor  would  permit  them  to 
be  sent  to  bed,  but  every  now  and  then  turned  to  press 
their  heads  and  kiss  them.  Amiable  affectionate  man! 
Affection  was  the  most  effectual  balm  to  heal  any  wound 
disappointed  ambition  inflicted. 

On  this  day  too — Thursday — he  had  them  constantly 
by  him.  His  wife,  his  daughters,  his  younger  children 
and  myself  were  the  whole  time  with  him.  Even  Mrs. 
Belmoni,  the  old  nurse  could  not  stay  away,  but  often 
made  excuses  to  come  in  the  drawing  room.  "Poor  old 
woman,"  said  he,  on  her  leaving  the  room,  "she  seems  to 
take  it  to  heart  more  than  any  one." 

"It  is  the  idea  of  being  separated  from  the  children, 
and  family,"  said  I.     "She  told  me  yesterday  that  she 


i835]      LAFAYETTE    VISITS    CRAWFORD        189 

would  never  leave  you,  that  whether  you  would  or  no,  she 
would  go  to  Georgia  with  you  and  that  if  you  had 
nothing  but  a  crust  to  give  her,  she  would  stay  with  you, 
for  that  it  would  break  her  heart  to  be  separated  from  the 
children."  Mr.  Crawford  seemed  affected  and  I  thought 
I  saw  his  eyes  glisten. 

How  every  one  who  knows  this  man  loves  him ! 

Among  the  earliest  visitors  was  George  Lafayette. 
How  affectionately  he  held  Mr.  C.s  hand  between  both 
his,  while  his  countenance  beamed  with  tenderness  and 
sensibility.  His  father  he  said  was  detained  by  com- 
pany, but  the  moment  he  was  free  he  should  be  here. 
He  sat  about  an  hour.  The  conversation  this  morning 
was  entirely  on  commonplace  subjects — none  of  the  vis- 
itors alluded  to  what  had  taken  place.  About  one  o'clock 
General  Lafayette  came.  ...  It  was  not  until  four 
oclock  that  Genl.  Lafayette  left  his  friend  and  when  Mr. 
C.  joined  us  at  the  dinner  table,  he  mentioned  among 
other  things  that  he  had  said,  had  Jackson  been  chosen, 
Mr.  Irving,  (former  Minister  in  Spain  and  a  warm 
friend  of  Mr.  C.'s  then  in  Paris)  would  never  have  for- 
given him,  but  would  have  attributed  his  election  to  him, 
at  least  to  the  eclat,  which  his  arrival  in  the  U.  S.  had 
given  to  the  military.  "In  order  to  avoid  any  such  influ- 
ence," continued  the  General  "and  to  show  that  I  re- 
spected the  civil,  more  than  the  military  power,  I  have 
invariably  avoided  wearing  uniform,  and  on  every  occa- 
sion since  I  have  been  here,  have  reviewed  the  troops  in 
my  plain  blue  coat  and  round  hat."  Mr.  Crawford  ex- 
pressed his  high  appreciation  of  the  delicacy  and  dis- 
cretion Genl.  Lafayette  had  shown,  not  only  in  this  but 
in  every  other  circumstance  relative  to  the  Presidential 
contests. 

Before  the  candles  were  light,  visitors  arrived — Col. 


i9o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

and  Mrs.  Bomford,  and  Judge  Johnson  were  among  the 
earliest  and  as  soon  as  we  had  taken  our  tea  and  coffee 
we  commenced  our  usual  harmless  game  of  whist — harm- 
less as  we  never  played  for  anything.  It  was  difficult  to 
think  up  a  commonplace  conversation,  where  every  one 
felt  so  much  and  cards  was  a  good  resource. 

Soon  after  Mr.  Van  Buren  and  McClean  (of  Del) 
came  in.  As  soon  as  the  game  was  finished  I  gave  up 
my  hand  to  Mr.  Van  B.  and  sat  by  Mr.  McClean  with 
whom  Mrs.  C,  Caroline  and  I  had  an  interesting  con- 
versation, as  we  sat  on  the  sopha,  the  opposite  side  of 
the  rest  of  the  company. 

"And  how  do  you  bear  our  disappointment?"  said  I 
to  Mr.  McC,  who  is  a  particular  friend.  "I  am  sick, 
sick  at  heart,"  replied  he.  "I  could  not  come  here  yes- 
terday— I  felt  too  wretchedly.  I  went  to  bed  for  an 
hour  or  two  and  when  a  little  calmed,  rose  and  poured 
out  all  my  feelings  in  a  letter  to  my  wife.  I  gave  her  the 
whole  history  and  then  felt  a  little  easier." 

"Why  you  bear  it  worse  than  any  one  I  have  seen," 
said  I. 

"Oh,  Mrs.  Smith,"  said  he,  "Defeat  I  could  have 
borne  as  philosophically  as  any  one,  but,  falsehood,  de- 
ceit, treachery,  from  one  in  whom  I  had  trusted,  with  as 
much  fullness  and  confidence,  as  I  trusted  myself,  that  / 
could  not  bear.  Mrs.  Smith,  it  has  so  disgusted  me  with 
political  men  and  political  life — nay  with  mankind  itself, 
that  I  wish  I  could  shut  myself  up  for  life  and  have  noth- 
ing more  to  do,  with  any  one  but  my  wife  and  children. 
I  look  around — and  exclaim  where  is  there  one  man  I 
can  trust!  and  I  feel  there  is  not  one!" 

"Why  what  can  have  produced  such  disgust  against 
your  species?"  asked  I. 

"Treachery  and  falsehood,"  replied  he,  "where  I  be- 


i8a5]      VAN    RENSSELAER'S    PROMISES        191 

lieved  was  honor  and  truth.  Genl.  V.  R.  has  for  two 
years  been  one  of  our  mess.  He  has  betrayed  those  with 
whom  he  broke  bread.  We  conversed  before  and  con- 
fided in  him  as  one  of  ourselves.  He  always  professed 
himself  one  in  our  views,  our  plans,  our  hopes,  and  this 
very  morning,  not  half  an  hour  before  he  betrayed  us,  he 
pledged  me  his  word  of  honor,  that  he  would  not  vote  for 
Adams.  After  the  Senate  withdrew,  some  one  came  and 
told  me  he  was  walking  in  the  lobby,  and  looked  anxious 
and  perturbed.  I  went  to  him  and  asked  him  what  dis- 
turbed him.  'McClean,'  said  he  seizing  my  hand,  'the 
election  turns  on  my  vote — one  vote  will  give  Adams  the 
majority — this  is  a  responsibility  I  am  unable  to  bear. 
What  shall  I  do?' 

"  'Do,'  said  I — 'do  what  honor,  what  principle  directs. 
General  you  are  an  old  man.  All  the  circumstances  of 
life  place  you  above  the  comon  temptations  of  men.  You 
want  nothing,  you  have  no  motive  but  duty  to  sway  you. 
Look  at  me,  I  am  a  young  man,  I  have  nothing — I  have 
a  large  family.  My  vote  like  yours  would  turn  the  scale. 
I  feel  a  responsibility  as  mighty ;  but  General,  the  greater 
the  responsibility  the  greater  the  honor.  From  three 
we  are  to  choose  the  man  we  think  the  best  man.  You 
have  often  said  in  your  estimation  that  man  was  Craw- 
ford— why  then  hesitate?  take  hold  of  me,  let  us  march 
boldly  on  and  do  our  duty.' 

"  'I  am  resolved,'  announced  the  general,  'here  is  my 
hand  and  I  give  you  my  word  of  honor  not  to  vote  for 
Adams.' 

"I  then  quitted  him,  but  to  make  assurance  doubly  sure, 
I  went  to  Archer  and  begged  him  to  go  and  receive  the 
same  pledge.  He  did  so,  the  General  repeated  to  Archer 
what  he  had  said  to  me  and  gave  him  his  word  of  honor 
he  would  not  vote  for  Adams. 


i92  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

"A  little  while  after  this,  a  friend  whispered  me,  that 
from  the  General's  looks,  he  was  afraid  he  was  again 
wavering.  Another  gentleman  told  me  that  during  this 
interval,  the  speaker  had  been  seen  whispering  with  him. 

"I  then  went  to  Van  Buren  and  begged  he  would  go 
and  talk  with  him,  for  the  poor  old  man  seemed  stagger- 
ing under  the  weight  of  responsibility.  When  Van  B. 
went  to  him  he  was  passing  round  the  house  to  take  his 
seat  with  N.  Y.  delegation.  He  stopped  to  listen  and 
again  to  Mr.  V.  B.  repeated  his  promise  on  his  word  of 
honor,  that  he  would  not  vote  for  Adams.  After  he  took 
his  seat  next  Mr.  Morgan,  he  repeated  it  to  that  gentle- 
man and  a  few  minutes  afterwards  he  must  have  written 
the  name  of  Adams,  which  he  put  in  the  ballot  box. 
After  this,  can  you  wonder  that  I  was  sick  at  heart  and 
disgusted  with  politics  and  politicians." 

"Have  you  seen  him  since  ?"  asked  Mrs.  C.  "Yes,"  re- 
plied Mr.  McC.  "When  the  election  was  over,  as  I  was 
leaving  the  House,  I  saw  him  coming  to  me,  I  hurried 
forward  to  avoid  him,  he  hurried  after  me,  when  I 
reached  the  door  I  saw  a  hack,  in  which  were  three 
gentlemen.  I  jumped  in,  knowing  he  could  not  follow, 
when  I  got  home,  I  ran  up  in  my  own  room,  but  had  not 
been  long  there  when  he  followed,  he  came  in,  he  looked 
wretchedly,  tears  were  running  down  his  cheeks,  'forgive 
me,  McClean,'  said  he,  stretching  out  his  hand.  'Ask 
your  own  conscience  General  and  not  me,'  said  I  turning 
away.  Since  then  he  has  been  in  Coventry.  A  similar 
scene  took  place  with  V.  B.  and  the  other  gentlemen  of 
the  mess,  we  let  him  continue  with  us,  sit  at  the  same 
table  with  us,  but  we  do  not  speak  to  him.  He  is  be- 
neath anything  but  contempt,  and  he  is  an  old  man." 

"What  possible  motive?"  inquired  I,  "can  you  assign?" 
"None,"  replied  Mr.  McC,  "none,  weakness,  pure  weak- 


18*51      ADAMS'S   OFFER  TO  CRAWFORD       193 

ness,  as  he  said,  the  responsibility  was  more  than  he 
could  bear." 

"He  has  always,"  said  I,  "been  considered  as  a  pure 
and  honorable  man." 

"Always,"  replied  McC,  "and  even  now  I  do  not  im- 
peach his  purity — it  was  shear  weakness  of  mind,  he 
never,  you  know,  was  thought  a  man  of  much  under- 
standing, and  it  is  supposed  is  absolutely  governed  by  his 
wife  and  it  is  said,  she  has  written  earnestly  on  the  sub- 
ject— he  might  be  afraid  to  disobey." 

While  we  were  thus  conversing,  a  servant  entered  and 
giving  a  letter  to  Caroline,  said,  it  is  brought  by  Mr. 
Adams  Steward.  For  18  months  Caroline,  has  opened 
read  and  answered  all  her  father's  private  letters  and  did 
not  hesitate  to  do  so  now. 

After  reading  it,  she  handed  it  to  McClean,  saying,  it 
contains  no  secrets,  only  a  repetition  of  an  offer  already 
verbally  made,  or  rather  a  request  that  my  father  would 
continue  in  his  present  office.  Mr.  McC.  read  it  and  said 
it  was  polite,  frank  and  friendly  and  asked  what  were  her 
father's  intentions.  "To  decline"  answered  she.  "I  am 
rejoiced  to  hear  it,"  said  Mr.  Mc.  "Oh  we  have  but  one 
wish,"  said  Mrs.  C,  "and  that  is  to  return  as  soon  as  possi- 
ble to  Georgia,  it  is  absolutely  necessary  for  Mr.  Craw- 
fords  health  and  that  is  all  we  care  for."  The  letter  was 
laid  aside,  until  the  company  should  go  and  Mr.  McC.  ad- 
vised her  not  to  give  it  to  her  father  until  the  next  morn- 
ing, as  it  was  late  and  he  might  be  fatigued. 

Before  he  left  his  room  the  next  morning  and  imme- 
diately after  taking  his  breakfast,  he  answered  Mr.  A.'s 
letter.  In  a  frank  and  friendly  manner,  without  consid- 
ering the  various  meanings  that  might  be  attached  to  a 
word. 

Mr.  Adams  was :  "Dr.  Sir — I  avail  myself  of  the  first 


i94  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

moment,  since  I  have  been  notified  of  the  election  of  yes- 
terday, to  express  to  you  my  earnest  hope  and  wish  that 
you  will  remain  in  your  present  situation,  (or  retain 
your  present  office)  I  do  not  recollect  which.  I  remain, 
Sir,  with  sincere  respect  your  humble  Servt."  To  this 
Mr.  C  replied  with  less  conciseness.  "Dr  Sir — I  have 
received  and  hasten  to  answer  yr  friendly  letter,  But  hav- 
ing long  since  deliberately  made  up  my  mind  not  to  re- 
main in  my  present  situation  after  Mr.  Monroe's  term 
of  service  expires,  You  must  allow  me  to  decline  your 
frank  and  friendly  offer,  which  had  it  not  been  other- 
wise I  might  have  been  induced  to  accept.  With  sincere 
respect  your  humbl" 

This  was  written  ready  to  send  when  two  or  three 
gentlemen,  his  friends,  entered  and  he  showed  it  to  them. 
One  objected  to  the  word  present  situation,  thinking 
Mr.  Adams  might  imagine  he  would  accept  the  office  of 
State.  As  this  interpretation  might  be  given,  he  did  not 
object  to  striking  out  that  expression.  That  in  any  cir- 
cumstances he  might  have  been  induced  to  accept  a  place 
in  the  office,  was  a  thing  these  gentlemen  deemed  de- 
grading to  him  and  injurious  to  the  Republican  party. 
He  argued,  he  meant  it  as  merely  complimentary  and 
he  thought  the  offer  on  Mr.  A.'s  part  required  from  him 
at  least  the  most  obliging  mode  of  declination.  But  this 
was  overruled  and  one  gentleman  wished  him  to  say, 
that  in  no  circumstances  could  he  be  induced  to  accept 
— this  he  resolutely  refused — "friendly  letter,"  was  ob- 
jected to — likewise  "frank  and  friendly  offer.''  As  the 
repetition  of  the  word  friendly  was  inelegant  and  un- 
necessary he  consented  to  expunge  the  first  friendly ;  but 
insisted  on  retaining  the  word  in  the  second  place — much 
argument  ensued  and  had  one  of  the  gentlemen  had  his 
way,  a  rude  answer  would  have  been  sent.    I  was  shocked 


i825]  CRAWFORD'S    DECLINATION  195 

at  such  illiberality  and  narrow-mindedness  and  glad  that 
Mr.  C.  would  not  yield — the  answer  contained  these,  or 
nearly  these  words — 

"In  acknowledging  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the 
10th  I  must  be  permitted,  Sir,  to  decline  the  frank  and 
friendly  offer  it  contains  and  am  with  high  respect  your 
humble  servant.,,  Mr.  C.'s  frank  and  generous  temper 
prompted  him  to  a  more  courteous  answer,  but  deeming 
it  a  thing  of  little  importance  he  yielded  to  this  concise 
reply. 

He  was  worried  by  their  petty  objections,  which  they 
urged  and  argued  about  as  matters  of  great  importance 
and  showed  more  impatience  and  irritation  and  yielded 
rather  because  he  was  wearied  and  worried  than  because 
he  deemed  it  of  any  consequence.     .     .     . 

When  no  visitors  were  present,  Mr.  C.  played  whist 
and  seemed  in  his  usual  spirits.  A  large  circle  collected 
in  the  evening  and  as  they  were  particular  friends  many 
details  respecting  the  election  took  place,  by  which  it  was 
evident  they  hoped  for  ultimate  success,  could  the  de- 
cision have  been  delayed ;  at  any  rate,  they  meant  had  it 
been  in  their  power  to  have  prevented  an  election,  think- 
ing it  a  less  political  evil  to  have  the  vice-President  fill  the 
presidential  chair,  than  either  Adams  or  Jackson.  Those 
moderate  people  of  their  own  party  think  differently  and 
prefer  the  present  result  to  a  long-contested  election,  but 
all  agreed  it  was  Mr.  Clay  who  had  decided  it,  and  would 
have  done  it  in  favour  of  either  of  the  other  candidates  to 
whom  he  had  given  his  support. 

On  Saturday,  Congress  was  not  in  session,  and  the 
whole  morning  the  drawing-room  was  crowded  with 
company,  both  ladies  and  gentlemen.  The  four  mem- 
bers of  parliament  and  many  other  strangers  called. 


196  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

In  the  evening,  among  other  gentlemen  who  were 
there  was  Mr.  Owen  of  Lanark.1  ...  He  has  pur- 
chased of  the  Shakers,  their  establishments  at  Harmony, 
consisting  of  many  excellent  buildings,  manufactures  in 
full  operation,  Gardens,  orchards,  vineyards — corn  fields 
— and  30,000  acres  of  ground. 

Mr.  Owen  cares  not  how  degraded,  vicious  or  ignorant 
his  new  colonists  may  be,  as  he  feels  the  power  of  his 
system  to.be  such,  that  they  can  soon  be  rendered  vir- 
tuous and  educated.  At  Lanark,  he  said  he  had  com- 
menced with  the  dregs  of  the  dregs  of  society.  In  a 
population  of  2400  criminals  and  ignorant  persons,  he 
had  never  made  any  punishments  or  rewards,  beyond  a 
small  fine,  to  restrain  vice  and  encourage  happiness  which 
resulted  from  good  conduct  and  to  encourage  virtue.  In 
the  course  of  a  year  the  fines  had  not  amounted  to  quite 
40  shillings.  "They  want  nothing  and  therefore  are 
without  tempation — make  a  man  happy  and  you  make 
him  virtuous — this  is  the  whole  of  my  system,  to  make 
him  happy,  I  enlighten  his  mind  and  occupy  his  hands 
and  I  have  so  managed  the  art  of  instruction  that  in- 
dividuals seek  it*  as  an  amusement.  Two  of  the  most 
powerful  moral  agents  I  use,  are  musick  and  dancing. 
Relaxation  after  labour,  and  amusement  are  both  phy- 
sically and  morally  necessary.  Dancing  combines  both 
exercise  and  amusement,  and  of  all  pleasures  musick  is 
the  most  innocent  and  exhilerates  the  spirits,  while  it 
soothes  the  passions.  I  require  my  people  to  labour  only 
8  hours  out  of  the  twenty-four.  Instruction  and  amuse- 
ment diversify  the  intermediate  hours." 

1  He  was  a  social  reformer  of  great  renown  in  his  day.  He  delivered  a 
lecture  at  the  Capitol,  March  7,  1825,  which  Monroe  and  Adams  attended. 
He  established  a  community  in  Indiana  in  1824  which  failed  in  three  years. 
In  1828  he  projected  a  community  in  Mexico,  but  the  scheme  fell  through, 
because  the  Mexican  government  insisted  the  Catholic  religion  should  pre- 
vail, and  Owen  was  a  freethinker. 


i825]  OWEN    OF    LANARK  i97 

"And  can  you  deter  from  vice  and  stimulate  to  virtue 
without  the  fear  of  punishment  or  hope  of  reward  ?" 

"Yes,"  said  he,  "fear  and  hope  are  equally  banished, 
actual  enjoyment,  which  is  the  consequence  or  result 
of  good  behavior  is  sufficient." 

"If  you  make  the  present  life  so  happy,  so  all  sufficient, 
I  fear  they  will  not  wish  for  another."  "But,"  said  he 
smiling,  "if  their  present  life  prepares  them  for  a  future 
life,  is  not  that  sufficient?" 

"I  have  endeavored,"  said  he,  "to  gather  from  the  ex- 
perience of  others.  I  avoided  all  those  principles  and 
systems  which  have  failed  to  make  men  happy — in  other 
words  virtuous.  Or  rather  I  have  selected  from  the 
experiments  made  in  morals,  only  such  as  have  been 
proved  good  and  sufficient.  And  with  these  materials 
I  am  making  a  new  experiment,  and  feel  no  doubt  of  its 
success.  Education  is  the  foundation  on  which  I  build — 
enlighten  men's  minds  and  they  will  discern  and  under- 
stand what  will  promote  their  good.  Take  away  want 
and  you  take  away  tempation — make  men  happy  and 
you  make  them  virtuous — these  are  my  governing  prin- 
ciples." 

Cool  and  dispassionate  in  his  manner,  slow  and  even 
difficult  in  his  enunciation — with  a  face  indicative  of  a 
strong  mind,  but  no  imagination,  it  is  difficult  to  conceive 
that  Mr.  Owen  is  a  vissionary  and  enthusiast — yet  so 
he  is  called.     .     .     . 

MR.  CRAWFORD  AND  HIS  BARBER1 

One  morning  (a  few  days  before  Mr.  Crawford  after 
his  resignation  of  office  left  the  city,)  I  was  sitting  with 
him  and  the  family,  when  the  servant  entered  and  said, 
1  From  the  notebook. 


i98  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

Mr.  Dickison  his  Barber,  had  called  and  wished  to  know 
if  he  might  come  in.  "Certainly,"  said  Mr.  C.  "ask 
him  in." 

The  honest  man,  was  accordingly  shown  in.  He  was 
dressed  in  his  Sunday  clothes  and  evidently  came  on  a 
visit,  and  not  on  business.  He  did  not  approach,  but 
stood  at  the  door  twisting  his  hat  in  his  hand,  not  em- 
barrassed, so  much  as  agitated.  "Take  a  chair,  take  a 
chair,"  said  Mr.  Crawford,  pointing  to  one  near  him. 
The  good  fellow  obeyed,  looked  up  with  eyes  full  of 
tears,  but  could  not  for  some  moments  speak,  at  last 
he  said,  "They  tell  me,  Sir,  we  are  soon  to  lose  you." 
"It  is  true,"  said  Mr.  C.  "I  am  going  home" — another 
pause — "I  am  heartily  sorry  to  hear  it,"  said  he  at 
last,  "every  one  that  knows  you  is  heartily  sorry.  It  is  a 
long  while,  Sir.  since  you've  been  home,  and  so  I  was 
thinking  your  garden  might  be  out  o'  sorts,  which  as 
you  love  gardening  so,  is  a  pity.  No  one  belikes  has 
saved  good  seed  for  you,  and  as  you  know,  Sir,  mine  is 
an  extraordinary  good  garden,  I  have  been  putting  up 
a  parcel  of  the  finest  seeds  I  saved  and  if  you  will  not  be 
affronted,  should  like  you  to  take  them  with  you — and 
should  consider  it  a  great  favour."  "Willingly,  and 
thank  you,  Dickison,"  replied  Mr.  C.  On  this,  the 
honest  barber's  countenance  brightened  up,  he  handed 
the  parcel,  saying,  "Would  to  the  Lord,  I  had  had  as 
many  votes,  they  should  all  have  been  as  freely  given  to 
you  Sir" —  Then  turning  to  Mrs.  C.  and  looking  at  the 
children — "And  with  your  good  leave,  madam,  I  should 
like  to  cut  the  young  gentlemens  hair  once  again,  before 
they  went."  "Certainly,"  replied  Mrs.  C.  He  then 
looked  first  at  one,  then  at  another,  then  at  Mr.  Craw- 
ford, with  great  emotion,  and  eyes  brimful  of  tears.  He 
seemed  to  be  studying  for  some  other  mode  of  expressing 


i8a5]  CRAWFORD'S    BARBER  199 

his  affection,  but  could  find  none,  so,  slowly  getting  up 
and  approaching  Mr.  C,  who  held  out  his  hand  to  him, 
he  seized  it,  and  while  he  held  it  pressed  between  both 
of  his,  he  exclaimed,  "Well,  God  bless  you,  Sir,  God  bless 
you.  Yes,  wherever  you  go  and  as  long  as  you  live,  may 
God  in  his  mercy  help  you!"  and  unable  to  say  more,  he 
shook  hands  with  the  rest  of  the  family,  and  wiping  his 
eyes  with  the  back  of  his  hand,  bowed  low  and  hurried 
out  of  the  room. 


ANOTHER  ANECDOTE 

While  Mr.  Crawford  was  in  the  country,  (the  autumn 
before  he  left  the  district)  he  was  too  ill  to  be  regularly 
attended  by  his  barber,  when  therefore  his  services  were 
required  he  was  sent  for.  Such  were  the  exaggerated 
rumours  afloat  concerning  Mr.  C.'s  health,  that  it  was 
impossible  to  ascertain  the  truth  and  both  political  friends 
and  enemies  at  a  distance  were  in  a  constant  state  of 
suspense  and  anxiety.  It  was  an  important  point  to  both 
parties,  one  endeavoring  to  lessen,  the  other  to  exag- 
gerate the  reports  of  his  illness.  Persons  were  sent  on 
the  part  of  his  opponents,  (who  were  most  apprehensive 
of  deception)  to  see  with  their  own  eyes  and  hear  with 
their  own  ears.  One  morning  when  two  gentlemen  of 
this  description,  were  with  him,  his  barber  arrived.  He 
was  a  good-mannered  talkative  man,  who  for  twenty 
years  had  been  chief  barber  to  the  whole  of  Congress, 
and  had  for  the  sake  of  his  amusing  gossip  been  in- 
dulged by  the  members  in  his  communicativeness  and 
familiarity.  "What  do  you  think,  Sir  ?"  said  he  to  Mr. 
C,  yesterday,  "a  strange  gentleman  from  N.  York  came 
to  me.  'Dickison,'  says  he,  'you  are  Mr.  Crawford's  bar- 
ber I  hear,  so  of  course  you  must  know  the  truth, — they 


2oo  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

tell  me  he  is  blind,  now,  my  good  man,  do  for  God's  sake 
tell  us  if  it  is  so — speak  the  truth  and  you  shall  be  well 
rewarded.'  'Sir,1  says  I,  'if  a  blind  man  can  write  like 
this,'  pulling  your  note  out  of  my  pocket  and  showing  it, 
'if  a  blind  man  can  write  such  a  fair  round  hand  as  that, 
then  Mr.  Crawford  is  blind,  for  that  very  note  did  he 
write  his  own  dear  self.'  La,  Sir,  I  wish  you  had  seen 
how  disappointed  and  mouth  fallen  the  fellow  looked. 
Yes,  yes,  I  knew  how  it  was,  right  glad  would  he  have 
been  to  have  heard  you  were  blind." 

"Ha!  ha!  ha!"  echo'd  Mr.  Crawford.  "Why  so  I  am 
blind  Dickison,  at  least  too  blind  to  write  a  single  line. 
My  daughter  wrote  that  note." 

The  poor  barber  in  his  turn  looked  mouth  fallen  and 
glanced  at  the  two  strangers  who  were  present  and  then 
at  Mr.  C.  as  much  as  to  say,  "but  why  need  you  let  these 
spies  know  as  much." 

But  Mr.  C.  would  as  freely  have  let  the  whole  world 
know,  for  in  this,  nor  in  any  other  instance,  however 
trifling  would  he  consent  to  deceive,  or  mislead  opinion 
public  or  private.  I  remember  in  the  winter  after  his 
return,  I  joined  his  family  in  persuading  him  to  receive 
his  numerous  visitants  in  the  drawing  room,  instead  of 
his  chamber,  that  he  might  have  less  the  appearance  of  an 
invalid.  He  consented  on  condition  he  might  have  his 
large  easy  chair. 

It  was  placed  on  the  side  of  the  room  on  which  were 
the  windows,  so  that  the  light  fell  on  his  back  and  his 
face  remained  in  shadow — what  was  still  worse,  the  win- 
dow curtains  were  of  green  silk  and  gave  his  complexion 
a  ghastly  hue, — ensconsed  in  this  great  high  backed  chair, 
tinted  with  these  green  curtains,  he  looked  ill,  very  ill,  al- 
most corpse  like,  at  the  very  time  when  his  health  was 
almost  restored  and  his  complexion  far  from  pale. 


18*51  CRAWFORD'S    AMIABILITY  201 

The  most  unfavorable  impressions  respecting  his  health 
were  made — on  all  such  as  saw  him  only  in  his  great  chair 
and  the  worst  reports  consequently  circulated.  I  urged 
him  to  dispense  with  the  chair  and  substitute  a  sopha, 
and  to  have  the  green  curtains  changed  for  crimson.  He 
laughed  heartily  at  what  he  called  my  female  artifices, 
and  told  me  he  could  not  play  the  coquette  even  to  win 
the  favour  of  his  mistress, — the  public.  At  last  we  wor- 
ried him  into  compliance,  so  far  as  to  exchange  the 
chair  for  a  sopha — but  never  could  prevail  on  him  to 
change  the  curtains,  so  that  through  all  this  eventful 
winter,  he  looked  in  much  worse  health  than  he  really 
was  and  even  some  of  his  friends  thought,  he  was  in- 
capacitated by  disease  for  being  President. 

But  to  return  to  our  honest  Barber,  who  was  continu- 
ally giving  proofs  of  his  enthusiastic  regard  for  Mr.  C. 
on  some  such  occasion,  I  asked  Mr.  C.  what  had  given 
rise  to  such  an  uncommon  attachment.  "That  is  more 
than  I  can  tell,"  said  he,  "but  of  my  own  liking  for  the 
good  natured  fellow  it  occurred  oddly  enough.  I  had 
lost  one  of  my  carriage  horses  and  was  looking  out  for  a 
match.  One  day  as  I  was  riding  along  Pennsyl.  Avenue, 
I  met  Dickison  mounted  on  precisely  such  a  horse  as  I 
wanted.  I  stopped  and  calling  to  him,  asked  if  he  would 
part  with  it  and  at  what  price. 

"  'To  you  Sir/  said  he  'at  no  price/  'How  so  friend  ?' 
said  I,  'why  not  to  me — have  I  ever  done  you  any  harm  ?' 
'No,  Sir/  replied  he,  'you  have  never  done  me  harm,  but 
you  have  done  your  country  great  harm  by  the  vote  you 
gave  yesterday  in  Congress,  and  if  you  were  to  lay  me 
down  your  whole  fortune  you  should  not  have  my  horse/ 
1  'Well  done  my  brave  fellow,"  said  I,  holding  out  my 
hand  to  him.  T  wish  every  man  was  as  honest  as  you 
and  happy  thrice  happy  would  our  country  be/     From 


202  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

that  day  I  employed  him  as  my  Barber  and  we  have  ever 
since  been  as  good  friends  as  honest  freemen  can  be." 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney,]  March  12,  1825. 
.  .  .  .  Yesterday  we  bade  farewell  to  our  excel- 
lent friend  Mr.  Crawford  and  his  amiable  family.  To  me, 
it  was  an  affecting  sight  to  see  this  truly  good  and  great 
man,  quitting  the  theatre  of  his  ambition  and  his  activity, 
to  retire  to  comparative  obscurity,  inaction  and  poverty — 
voluntarily  quitting  it,  rather  than  to  remain  in  a  situa- 
tion in  which  he  said  he  could  no  longer  do  good  to  his 
country.  He  immediately  and  unhesitatingly  declined 
Mr.  Adams  invitation  to  retain  his  place  in  the  Cabinet, 
and  when  I  suggested  to  him  the  interests  of  his  family 
and  his  own  gratification  as  motives  for  continuance,  "I 
cannot  do  it  honestly,"  replied  he,  and  that  settled  the 
matter.  "I  cannot  support  measures  I  do  not  approve, 
and  to  go  into  his  cabinet,  as  an  opponent,  would  be  very 
ungenerous."  It  is  said,  that  no  man  is  a  great  man, 
when  seen  near.  In  Mr.  C.'s  case,  this  is  not  true,  for 
it  is  only  when  seen  near,  that  all  his  great  qualities  are 
discernible.  In  the  privacy  of  domestic  life,  and  in  the 
unguarded  hours  of  social  and  confidential  intercourse, 
he  discovers  dispositions  of  the  heart  and  powers  of 
mind,  which  public  occasions  do  not  call  forth.  It  is 
easy  to  put  on  a  smiling  countenance  and  to  assume 
cheerfulness  for  a  few  hours;  particularly  when  public 
applause  stimulates  and  rewards  you.  But  it  is  not  easy 
to  be  really  calm  amidst  difficulty,  conflict  and  suspense, 
to  be  cheerful  when  hope  is  blasted,  when  wishes  are  dis- 
appointed, when  pride  is  mortified,  when  the  object  of 
ardent  desire,  of  strong  effort,  of  long  continued  exer- 


i825]  CRAWFORD'S   DEPARTURE  203 

tion,  of  exclusive  thought,  is  suddenly  wrested  from  you. 
The  full  and  crowded  mind  is  suddenly  left  a  void,  and  if 
not  a  strong  mind,  it  would  sink.  Not  so  Mr.  C.  The 
object  that  occupied  his  mind,  for  eight,  perhaps  more 
truly  for  twelve  years,  is  snatched  from  him,  and  disap- 
pointment inflicts  so  little  pain,  that  it  is  hard  to  believe 
that  hope  could  have  given  much  pleasure.  I  passed  the 
whole  week  of  the  election  with  him  and  studied  his 
character  with  the  care  and  attention  with  which  a 
painter  would  have  studied  his  features.  He  betrayed  no 
anxiety,  while  in  suspense,  and  no  defeat  in  faction  when 
disappointed.  He  was  uniformly  cheerful  and  the  only 
difference  I  perceived  was  an  increase  of  tenderness  to 
his  children.  To  me,  this  was  one  of  the  most  interest- 
ing weeks  in  my  life.  Deep  interest,  strong  excitement, 
produced  by  a  great  object,  were  circumstances  of  rare 
occurrence  and  offered  me  a  proportionably  rare  enjoy- 
ment. Every  day,  or  rather  evening,  I  was  in  company 
with  some  of  the  most  distinguished  actors  in  this  in- 
teresting drama.  I  knew  the  causes  of  their  circum- 
stances and  the  motives  of  their  actions,  on  which  public 
opinion  speculated  and  so  often  misinterpreted.  It  was 
curious  and  amusing  to  compare  rumour  and  truth,  and  it 
was  highly  interesting  to  watch  not  only  the  development 
of  characters,  but  of  events.  To  this  speculative  and 
moral  interest  was  added  that  of  friendship  and  affection 
and  I  enjoyed  that  pleasure,  (a  pleasure  which  life  so  sel- 
dom affords)  which  a  full  mind  and  a  full  heart  only  can 
yield.  In  these  large  objects,  individual  interest  was 
scarcely  felt — selfish,  I  should  have  said.  I  thought  so 
much  of  others  that  self  was  forgotten.  Perhaps  it  is  to 
this  cause  I  must  ascribe  the  indifference  I  have  felt  as  to 
the  fate  of  Lucy1  and  other  things  of  the  same  nature. 

1  One  of  her  stories. 


2o4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1825 

My  thoughts  and  feelings  generally  run  in  one  channel. 
When  divided  into  separate  streams  they  lose  their  force. 
This  winter  Mr.  C.'s  circumstances  and  character  have 
been  more  interesting  to  me  than  my  enemies.  Our 
families  have  almost  lived  together  and  I  have  passed  so 
much  time  in  the  city  since  we  left  it.  I  have  been  in 
more  society  than  I  have  been  in  for  many  years,  and 
never  enjoyed  it  more.  But  this  is  all  over  now !  The 
dissolution  of  such  an  intimacy,  the  separation  from  such 
friends,  inflicts  almost  as  much  pain,  as  the  death  of  those 
we  love  and  esteem.  The  cessation  of  an  interest  so 
deep  and  so  lively  leaves  a  vacuum  in  the  mind,  which 
common  objects  cannot  supply.  Madam  Pichon,  my 
first  friend  in  Washington,  after  eight  years  intimate  in- 
tercourse, was  taken  away.  Mrs.  Barlow  succeeded; 
she  too  is  gone,  but  not  more  completely  lost  to  me, 
tho'  divided  by  death,  than  Md.  P.,  and  good  Mrs.  St. 
Gemmes,  tho'  separated  only  by  the  Atlantic.  Mrs.  Mid- 
dleton1  promised  to  supply  the  place  of  these  friends  to 
me.  The  ceremonious  intercourse  of  strangers  had 
given  place  to  the  confidential  intercourse  of  congenial 
minds  and  kindred  feelings ;  from  whence  was  springing 
up  an  intimacy,  which  in  time  might  have  ripened  into 
tender  friendship.  But  she,  too,  is  placed  by  circum- 
stances on  the  other  side  of  the  ocean.  Mr.  Crawford 
and  his  family  more  than  supplied  her  place.  The  others 
were  exclusively  my  friends,  but  these  last  were  the 
friends  of  my  husband  and  children  and  our  intercourse 
had  all  the  kindness  and  intimacy  of  relationship.  But 
again,  we  are  bereft  of  what  we  most  valued  in  our  social 
circle  and  thrown  once  more  upon  ourselves  for  all  the 
pleasures,  which  intimate  and  confidential  society  affords. 

1  Wife  of  Henry  Middleton,  of  South  Carolina,  Minister  to  Russia,  1820- 
1830.     She  was  a  regular  correspondent  of  Mrs.  Smith. 


i8a7]  MONOTONY   AND   QUIET  205 

Well,  few  are  as  rich  as  I  still  am,  few  as  happy  in 
their  homes,  and  less  dependent  on  society.  I  enjoy 
society  with  the  keenest  relish,  and  so  I  do  retirement, — 
each  has  its  peculiar  delights.  One  is  left  me,  and  I  am 
determined  not  to  allow  the  enjoyment  of  what  I  possess, 
to  be  lessened  by  the  want  of  what  I  cannot  obtain. 
"This  was  very  wise,"  you  will  say,  "but  not  very  easy." 
For  me  it  is  easier  than  for  most  folks.  Such  is  the 
conformation  I  have  received  from  nature,  that  present 
objects  only  affect  me  in  a  deep  or  lively  manner.  Out 
of  sight,  out  of  mind,  is  pretty  true,  when  applied  to  me. 
It  is  a  defect,  I  know  that,  yet  it  is  one  I  rejoice  in,  since 
it  spares  me  great  pain.  However  accute  my  sorrows 
are,  they  are  soon  over.  I  have  had  some  that  have  kept 
me  waking,  but  few,  if  any,  that  a  sound  sleep  has  not 
cured.  I  have  ever  found  sleep  to  be  a  lethean  draught, 
— in  it  I  lose  not  only  the  sensation  of  pain,  but  the  ideas 
which  cause  pain.  This  argues  a  great  deficiency  of  sen- 
sibility. I  know  it  well,  and  always  have  said,  nature 
had  given  me  only  a  deep  sensibility  to  pleasure.  Mo- 
notony and  quiet  are  the  foes  dangerous  to  my  happiness. 
Stagnation  is  like  death.  Stagnation  of  the  mind  is  one 
of  the  worst  of  evils. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Sidney,]  January  12,  1827. 
.  .  .  .  As  Dr.  Stevens  once  said  to  me,  when 
complaining  of  nervous  affections  and  restlessness  of 
mind,  "You  have  almost  passed  the  stormy  part  of  life 
and  are  entering  on  a  calm  and  tranquil  state,  when  all 
these  complaints  will  vanish."  His  prediction  is  ac- 
complished and  I  am  often  astonished  at  the  contentrnent 
and  serenity  I  enjoy.     Not  that  I  can  possibly  imagine 


2o6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

this  arising  entirely  from  physical  causes.  My  health 
indeed  is  better,  and  not  subject  to  the  violent  attacks  I 
then  was  subject  to,  but  I  hope  more  may  be  ascribed  to 
mental  discipline,  and  tho'  I  fear,  Maria,  you  do  not  like 
to  hear  me  ascribe  such  effects  to  philosophical  reading, 
yet  in  the  truth  I  believe  this  the  cause.  For  the  last  two 
years  my  reading  has  been  almost  exclusively  of  moral 
subjects  as  treated  of  by  the  ancient  philosophers,  and 
in  their  writings  there  is  a  calm  and  tranquilizing  and  at 
the  same  time  elevating  influence,  that  has  a  most  de- 
lightful effect  on  the  mind.  But  do  not  connect  with 
philosophy,  anything  adverse  to  religion.  As  I  once  said 
the  philosophy  of  Socrates,  Cicero  and  Seneca,  has  no 
resemblance  to  that  of  the  modern  school.  The  immor- 
tality of  the  soul  and  the  government  of  God  is  enforced 
with  an  eloquence  that  charms  while  it  convinces  and 
their  system  is  no  ways  incompatible  with  that  of  re- 
vealed religion,  nor  have  I  found  that  it  undermined  my 
faith  in  Christian  doctrine.  I  wish  you  would  read 
Cicero's  essay  on  old  age, — every  person  advanced  in  life 
would  I  think  derive  advantage  from  it.  My  pen  you 
see,  will  wander.  I  meant  not  this  digression.  .  .  . 
Last  week  I  went  in  to  pay  some  necessary  visits  and 
dined  at  Mrs.  Thornton's.  After  dinner  I  sent  for 
Brother  and  after  passing  the  twilight  hour  with  Mrs. 
Bourdeaux  and  Thornton,  I  took  him  with  me  to  Mrs. 
Johnson's,1 — this  little  woman  improves  exceedingly  on 
acquaintance.  I  tell  her  she  is  too  good  for  a  mere  fash- 
ionable lady  and  I  believe  her  heart  tells  her  so  too,  for 
since  the  birth  of  her  son,  she  does  not  go  into  half  as 
much  company  as  she  used  to  do.  She  has  great  sim- 
plicity of  manners  and  her  living  and  dressing  in  the 

1  The  wife  of  Mrs.  Smith's  old  friend,  Colonel  Richard  Mentor  Johnson, 
now  Senator  from  Kentucky. 


i827]      "A  LEARNED  JUDGE  IN  JERSEY  207 

highest  style  and  the  consequent  flattery  and  attention 
she  receives  has  not  in  the  least  spoil'd  a  natural  kind  and 
sensible  disposition.  I  like  her  more  and  more.  We 
spent  an  agreeable  hour  with  her  and  staid  to  tea,  when 
finding  I  would  go  to  Mrs.  Clays  she  said  she  would  go 
with  us.  It  had  been  three  weeks  since  I  had  been 
there.  Brother  who  had  dined  there  the  day  before  in 
a  large  company,  said  he  was  much  more  gratified  by  this 
social  visit.  Mr.  C.1  was  very  agreeable.  I  joked  him 
a  good  deal  on  the  learned  judge  he  had  appointed  in 
Jersey.2  "At  first,"  said  I,  "he  was  a  sadler,  then  a  store 
keeper  and  then  when  made  a  justice  of  peace,  he  under- 
took to  read  Blackstone,  the  only  law-book  it  is  said  he 
has  ever  read.  What  a  learned  judge  and  chancelor  he 
will  make !"  "Stop,  stop,"  said  Mr.  C,  "you  do  not  know 
Mrs.  Smith  I  was  a  store-keeper."  "I  did  not,"  said  I, 
"but  I  know  without  your  telling  me  that  your  studies 
were  not  limited  to  Blackstone."  He  took  my  raillery  in 
very  good  part  and  defended  the  appointment  very  skill- 
fully and  brought  me  to  acknowledge  it  was  impossible 
to  please  every  body.  The  next  evening  I  was  engaged 
at  a  large  and  splendid  party  at  Mr.  Wirt's,  and  as  Mrs. 
Clay  said  etiquette  allowed  of  my  so  doing  I  asked  brother 
to  go  along  and  appointed  him  to  meet  me  at  Mrs.  Clay's 
at  7  oclock.  The  next  evening  I  went  in,  Ann  with  me 
and  Mrs.  C.  and  party  waited  until  near  8  for  brother. — 
As  he  did  not  come,  she  told  me  I  had  best  call  for  him 
at  the  President's  where  he  dined.  I  did  so,  but  he  had 
just  left  the  house.  Mr.  Clay  had  left  word  for  him  to 
follow  us  and  I  was  afraid  he  would  not,  but  staid  in  the 
reception  room  waiting  for  him  and  soon  saw  his  face 
through  the  crowd  and  making  my  way  found  him  and 

1  Clav  was  then  Secretary  of  State. 

2  William  Rossell  had  just  been  appointed  United  States  District  Judge. 


2o8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

introduced  him  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Wirt,  and  kept  his  arm 
through  the  evening  introducing  him  to  all  my  acquaint- 
ances. It  was  a  charming  party  and  I  enjoyed  it  the 
more  for  having  his  company.  Mrs.  Barbour1  asked  me 
and  all  the  family,  brother  included,  to  spend  the  next 
day  socially  with  her  and  to  pass  the  evening.  She 
always  receives  company  on  Saturday  evening.  We 
agreed.  The  next  day,  was  as  you  may  believe  a  very 
interesting  one  to  me  and  the  girls.  Mr,  Smith  on  that 
day,  read  his  memoir  on  Mr.  Jefferson  before  the  Co- 
lumbian Institute.  There  was  unexpectedly  a  great 
many  ladies.  The  President  of  U.  S.  being  likewise 
Pres'd  of  the  institute,  presided  on  this  occasion.  I  felt 
absolutely  sick  from  anxiety,  as  my  dear  husband  is 
totally  unaccustomed  to  speak  in  public,  but  every  thing 
went  off  very  well, — no  hesitation  or  embarrassment,  tho' 
from  inward  emotion  his  voice  was  low  and  indistinct. 
When  you  read  the  memoir,  which  I  shall  send  you,  you 
will  have  a  new  proof  that  my  husband  is  no  courtier, 
indeed,  without  servility  I  think  I  urged  him  to  make 
some  mention  of  J.  Adams, — but  he  confined  himself 
wholly  to  the  subject  of  his  memoir  and  tho'  Genl. 
Brown,  our  good  friend  sat  close  before  him  and  he  did 
not  spare  military  power  and  glory. 

Brother  seemed  really  charmed  with  Gouv'r  Barbour's 
eloquent  and  amusing  conversation, — certainly  few  equal 
him  in  colloquial  powers.  Being  engaged  early  in  the 
evening  at  Mrs.  Rush's,  brother  left  us  when  we  rose 
from  table  and  we  ladies  retired  to  dress  for  the  evening. 
You  know  Mrs.  Barbour  is  almost  as  great  a  talker  as 
myself,  being  both  in  very  high  spirits,  which  the  girls 
declared  were  increased  by  champayne,  we  passed  really  a 
merry  hour  or  two  during  the  unceremonious  ceremony 
1  Wife  of  James  Barbour,  Secretary  of  War. 


Henry  Clay. 

Secretary  of  State  1825-1829. 

From  the  portrait  by  Edward  Palton  Marchant.      In  the  State 
Department,  Washington. 


i827]    FAIR  FOR  THE  ORPHAN  ASYLUM      209 

of  dressing.  Between  7  and  8,  the  company  began  to 
assemble  and  tho'  an  uninvited  and  social  meeting,  the 
rooms  were  soon  filled.  Mr.  Smith,  for  a  wonder,  made 
his  appearance  for  a  little  while  on  his  way  to  sup  with 
the  Typographical  Society  on  its  anniversary.  Mr. 
Gales  and  4  or  5  stranger  editors,  mostly  members  of 
congress  went  with  him  and  did  not  return  until  after 
twelve,  when  as  all  the  company  were  gone,  to  beguile 
the  time  I  was  playing  chess  with  Gouv'r  Barbour.  Thus 
passed  another  most  agreeable  evening.  We  returned 
home,  all  of  us  in  fine  spirits.  If  I  could,  I  would  have 
gone  on  Wednesday  to  Mrs.  Clay's  drawing  room,  but 
Mr.  Smith  had  an  engagement  in  the  city  and  I  gave  it 
up.  However,  we  were  as  happy  at  home,  sitting  round 
a  cheerful  fire  and  reading  English  history  and  sewing, 
so  much  interested  in  the  adventures  of.  Prince  Charles, 
that  we  could  not  close  the  book  until  past  11  o'clock. 
Thus  at  home  or  abroad  we  are  quite  happy.  We  have 
frequent  and  agreeable  and  long  visits  from  College 
friends  and  our  winter  evenings  are  as  pleasant  as  sum- 
mer days.  On  Christmas  we  were  very  happy,  as  well 
as  gay.  Dear  Mrs.  Bomford  and  all  her  family  came 
early  in  the  morning  and  staid  until  late  at  night.  In  the 
evening  about  20  young  people  joined  us  and  musick  and 
dancing  and  games  enabled  our  young  folks  to  have  a 
merry  christmas.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Sidney,]  Deer.  21st  1827. 

.     .     .     .     Next  week  there  is  to  be  a  Fair,  for  the 

benefit  of  the  Orphan  Asylum.     Every  female  in  the 

City,  I  believe,  from  the  highest  to  the  lowest  has  been 

at  work  for  it.     Mrs.  Van  Ness  spares  neither  time  or 


2io  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

expense  and  Mrs.  Lovel  for  three  weeks  has  been  work- 
ing night  and  day  and  enlisted  her  husband  and  sisters 
who  have  painted  &c,  &c,  besides  begging  for  scraps 
and  pieces  of  all  kinds  to  dress  dolls  and  make  pin- 
cushions. From  knit-stocking,  clergyman's  bands,  to 
hats,  caps,  tables,  and  dresses  the  ingenuity  of  our  ladies 
has  been  employed.  Carrusi,  the  Italian  musick  master 
whom  you  saw  here  has  lent  his  large  elegant  assembly 
room.  Col.  Henderson,  (of  the  Marine  Corps)  lends  the 
whole  band  of  musick  and  his  men  are  to  decorate  the 
room  with  greens  and  flowers.  The  Speaker  of  the 
House1  has  promised  to  patronize  it.  There  are  to  be  30 
tables  arranged  in  a  semi-circle  at  each  of  which  is  to  pre- 
side one  married  and  2  young  ladies,  wearing  some  badge 
to  distinguish  them.  I  took  little  interest  because  I  had 
heard  little  of  it,  until  last  week  when  I  went  into  the  city 
to  pay  some  visits.  I  found  the  zeal  which  prevailed 
there  quite  contageous  and  my  enthusiasm  was  immedi- 
ately excited.  Having  nothing  to  give  that  was  of  any 
worth  that  depended  on  the  expenditure  of  money,  it  all 
at  once  occurred  to  me,  one  of  my  MS  might  be  turned 
to  account.2  I  went  in  search  of  Mrs.  Bomford,  who  was 
in  the  city,  met  her,  got  into  her  carriage,  communicated 
to  her  my  design,  in  case  she  approved  it.  She  was 
absolutely  delighted,  thought  it  would  give  great  eclat 
to  the  Fair,  to  have  a  new  novel  to  sell.  As  I  did  not 
visit  Mrs.  V.  Ness,  yet  thought  it  right  that  the  offer 
should  be  made  to  her,  as  Chief  Directress,  Mrs.  B.  vol- 
unteered to  go  to  her  and  to  stay  in  the  city  and  go 
with  me  to  dine  at  Mrs.  Thornton's.  We  called  at  the 
War  Department  to  let  Col.  B.  know,  and  then  as  I  did 
not  wish  to  go  to  Mrs.  Vs.  she  proposed  getting  out  at 

1  Andrew  Stevenson,  of  Virginia. 

2  "  What  is  Gentility  or,  The  Brothers,"  was  published  for  the  fair. 


i8a7]      PREPARATIONS    FOR   THE   FAIR       211 

the  gate  and  leaving  me  in  the  carriage.  While  she  was 
in  the  house,  Genl.  Van  Ness  came  up  and  discovered  me, 
an  awkward  circumstance.  Mrs.  Van  N.  was  equally 
delighted  with  the  project  and  said  nothing  could  have 
come  more  apropos,  as  that  very  moment  she  was  writing 
to  Mr.  Pishey  Thompson,  to  request  his  aid  in  making  up 
a  literary  table.  She  promised  to  call  at  Mrs.  Thorn- 
ton's after  dinner  to  see  me  and  arrange  the  affair.  The 
time  was  so  short,  that  only  three  printers  who  printed 
papers  had  hands  and  materials  sufficient  to  do  it.  Mr. 
Gales  was  applied  to,  but  declined.  Duff  Green1  agreed 
to  do  it  but  could  not  promise  to  have  it  done  for  the 
Fair  and  his  terms  were  very  high.  I  left  the  business 
entirely  in  Mrs.  V.'s  hands,  and  have  not  heard  on  what 
she  has  decided.  That  evening,  Friday,  Ann  and  I  re- 
turned with  Mrs.  Bomford  and  staid  all  night.  The 
next  morning  she  carried  us  to  the  city  where  we  were 
engaged  to  dine  with  Mrs.  Southard.2  Ann  and  I  passed 
a  quiet,  comfortable  morning  with  Mrs.  Clay,  who  is  not 
well  and  talks  of  returning  home,  in  a  year's  time  as  a 
thing,  now  certain  and  on  her  own  account  is  pleased,  v 
At  three  we  went  into  Mrs.  S.'s  who  for  the  last  year  has 
been  kindness  and  sociability  personified.  Before  we 
rose  from  the  table,  Mrs.  Clay  came  in  and  looking  at  new 
caps  and  gowns  and  other  articles  of  dress  amused  us 
until  tea  time  when  Mrs.  and  Miss  Cutts  joined  us  and 
soon  after  Col.  and  Mrs.  Bomford  who  came  to  take 
us  home  with  them.  Mrs.  Clay  made  us  promise  to  go 
to  church  and  spend  the  next  day  with  her.     This  we  did, 

1  At  the  time  he  was  editing  the  opposition  newspaper. 

2  Samuel  Southard,  of  New  Jersey,  was  Secretary  of  the  Navy  from  1823 
to  1829.  His  family  and  the  Smiths  were  on  terms  of  intimacy  for  many 
years.  It  was  Mrs.  Smith's  brother-in-law,  Chief  Justice  Kirkpatrick,  who 
twitted  Mr.  Southard  with  his  ignorance  of  naval  affairs  when  he  was  first 
appointed  Secretary  by  asking  him  if  he  could  honestly  assert  he  knew  the 
bow  from  the  stern  of  a  frigate. 


2i2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

and  a  most  agreeable  day  we  passed.  Two  or  three  gen- 
tlemen were  there  and  Mr.  Clay  was  more  cheerful, 
frank  and  agreeable  than  I  have  seen  him  for  six  months, 
whether  this  proceeded  from  any  new  views  or  hopes,  or 
a  relief  from  suspense  and  uncertainty,  I  cannot  tell. 


TO  MISS  SUSAN  H.  SMITH 

[Sidney,]  Tuesday,  Febr.  1828. 
.  .  .  .  Have  you  read,  or  heard  read  the  debates 
in  Congress, — those  I  mean  on  Retrenchment, — they 
were  very  inflamatory  and  I  think  disgraceful  to  both 
parties.1  I  should  like  to  hear  Mr.  Kirkpatrick's  re- 
marks on  them,  yet,  notwithstanding,  I  could  not  ap- 
prove, I  certainly  was  entertained.  Anna  Maria  read 
several  long  speeches  aloud;  particularly  Mr.  Everett's 
and  Mr.  Hamiltons.  On  opposite  sides  and  both  marked 
by  superior  talents.  Randolph  too  has  been  very  amus- 
ing, but  old  Kremer  exceeded  every  thing,  his  cackling 
hen  will  never  be  forgotten.  But  it  is  a  sad  thing  to  see 
Congress  giving  way  to  such  merely  personal  interests, 
when  it  is  the  nation  they  should  think  of  and  feel  for. 
Poor  Mr.  Clay,  the  Telegraph  gives  him  no  rest.  It 
has  got  up  the  story  of  Col.  Morrison's  legacy  to  the 
College  in  a  new  and  more  aggravated  manner ;  I  think 
he  must  now  come  out  and  defend  himself.  We  have 
not  seen  Mrs.  Clay  since  Mrs.  Southard's  party  three 
weeks  ago.  The  weather  and  roads  render  intercourse 
impossible.  The  weather  now  however  is  fine  and  if  it 
continues  a  week,  the  roads  will  be  good,  yet  even  then 
I  shall  not  expect  to  see  our  city  friends  and  particularly 

JThey  were  disgraceful.  George  Kremer,  a  Representative  from  Penn- 
sylvania, a  reckless  demagogue  and  freak,  was  the  father  of  the  false  cry 
that  Clay  had  sold  his  vote  to  Adams  for  the  Secretaryship  of  State. 


i828]  MADAME    PICHON'S    LETTER  213 

Mrs.  C.  who  is  overwhelmed  with  company,  besides  a 
very  large  dining  company  every  week  and  a  drawing 
room  every  other  week.  She  says  when  Mr.  C.  dines  at 
home,  he  never  dines  alone  but  always  has  a  social  com- 
pany in  a  family  dinner,  which  however  is  really  the 
trouble  of  a  large  one.  She  is  obliged  to  go  to  other 
peoples  parties,  sick  or  well,  for  fear  of  giving  offence,  a 
thing  more  carefully  avoided  now  than  ever.     .     .     . 


FROM  MADAME  PICHON1 

Paris,  rue  Blanche,  April  12,  1828. 

Dear  and  True  Friend  : 

I  am  finally  about  to  write  to  you  after  a  long  silence, 
and  in  order  to  be  able  to  tell  you  more  I  write  in  French, 
as  it  goes  faster.  I  have  but  one  hour  to  write  this  let- 
ter and  wish  to  employ  it  well.  It  will  be  deliver'd  to 
you  by  a  young  man  whom  I  recommend  to  you.  He 
will  reside  in  New  York  in  a  commercial  house.  He 
leaves  a  father  and  mother  and  sisters  who  love  him.  I 
have  learned  by  experience  that  nothing  can  mitigate  the 
grief  felt  at  such  a  separation  except  the  hospitality 
which  I  received  in  your  good  and  admirable  country. 
However,  in  order  to  find  this  hospitality  it  is  necessary 
to  show  that  one  deserves  it.  Mr.  Hervey  belongs  to  a 
respectable  family.  He  is  very  genteel  and  well  bred. 
His  father  loves  science  and  is  a  good  patriot,  which  are 
good  recommendations  in  your  country.  Treat  him,  you 
and  Mr.  Smith,  as  you  did  us.  This  is  the  most  fortu- 
nate thing  I  can  wish  for  him.  Introduce  him  to  all  our 
common  acquaintances,  and  if  he  sends  you  this  letter 
before  going  to  Washington,  please  give  him  some  let- 

1  Translation  from  the  French. 


214  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Apr. 

ters  for  your  friends  in  New  York  and  Wilmington.     I 
wish  for  his  sake  that  Miss  Bayard  were  there. 

So  many  misfortunes  may  happen  in  one  year  that  I  do 
not  dare  speak  to  you  about  any  one  in  America,  but  will 
talk  to  you  concerning  ourselves  first.  I  will  say  that  if 
I  have  not  written  to  you  it  was  not  because  I  had  for- 
gotten either  you  or  yours,  as  you  have  done  with  me, 
for  I  received  from  Mr.  Warden  (who  gave  it  to  me) 
a  work  written  by  you,  which  I  read  with  keen  interest 
and  which  adorns  my  library  to  the  great  satisfaction  of 
my  personal  pride,  which  is  flattered  by  the  talent  of  my 
friends.  I  have  a  daughter  21  years  old,  Henrietta  by 
name,  about  whom  I  have  already  spoken  to  you,  who, 
like  myself,  appreciates  merit  above  all  else.  In  con- 
sequence of  this  she  was  married  a  year  ago.  She  re- 
fused what  the  world  calls  excellent  matches  in  order 
to  marry  a  very  amiable  young  savant,  who  is  an  eloquent 
and  most  distinguished  professor  of  physics,  well  edu- 
cated in  literature  and  political  economy,  a  good  son  and 
good  brother,  witty  and  gentle  (two  qualities  hard  to  find 
together),  and  whom  we  have  known  for  over  6  years. 
He  kept  my  head  turning  for  two  years.  I  was  thor- 
oughly tormented,  dear  friend,  and  I  thank  God  for  not 
having  more  than  one  daughter  for  I  should  lose  my 
head  if  I  had  the  anxieties  to  go  through  for  another 
which  I  experienced  for  this  one.  You  know  how  eco- 
nomical and  industrious  Pichon  and  I  are,  and  that  he 
understands  business  and  attends  to  his  own.  In  the 
positions  he  has  filled  we  have  made  some  savings  which 
he  invested  well  in  property  which  has  doubled  in  value. 
He  has  unraveled  the  affairs  of  my  parents  and  thanks 
to  his  efforts  my  mother  now  enjoys  a  nice  little  fortune. 
We  operated  a  farm  for  five  years.  It  was  a  poor  one 
but  we  have  improved  it  and  sold  it  at  a  good  profit. 


i828]    HENRIETTA  PICHON'S  MARRIAGE      215 

We  have  bought  the  house  we  live  in,  have  enlarged 
it,  and  instead  of  3,000  francs  income  which  the  farm 
yielded  in  good  years  we  now  have  8,000.  This  enabled 
us  to  give  Henrietta  a  snug  little  dowry,  which,  in  our 
opinion,  warranted  our  consenting  to  her  marriage  with 
a  man  of  merit,  pursuing  an  honorable  career,  and  whom 
she  loved,  even  though  he  had  no  fortune  of  his  own. 
One  of  our  friends  who  had  acted  as  father  to  Mr.  Pouil- 
let  (now  my  son-in-law)  ever  since  he  arrived  in  Paris, 
at  the  age  of  17  years,  ought  to  have  known  us  well 
enough  to  suppose  that  our  least  objection  was  the  lack 
of  a  fortune  (for  with  talent  and  good  morals  one  can 
always  be  acquired).  Mr.  Pouillet  ought  to  have  sup-' 
posed  that  I  thought  too  much  of  my  daughter  to  receive 
a  young  man  who  was  amiable,  well  formed,  and  with 
interesting  features,  as  I  received  him,  if  my  husband 
would  not  accept  him  as  a  son-in-law,  provided  he  be- 
came attached  to  Henrietta.  This  was  simply  good 
sense.  We  did  all  we  could  to  cause  our  friend  to  guess 
what  we  thought,  but  nevertheless  they  understood  the 
contrary,  and  when  the  position  of  Mr.  Pouillet,  ap- 
pointed professor  at  the  faculty  of  sciences,  became  im- 
proved and  enabled  him  to  marry,  and  when  Henrietta 
had  reached  19  and  I  thought  he  would  ask  me  for  her, 
she  fell  seriously  ill  and  was  between  life  and  death  for 
7  days.  Pouillet  ceased  to  come  and  my  poor  daughter, 
who  has  an  elevated  soul,  persuaded  herself  that  she 
hated  him.  This  hatred  made  me  shudder  and  I  inter- 
preted it  as  another  sentiment.  It  took  her  two  whole 
months  to  recover.  Her  character  had  changed.  She 
was  on  the  point  of  marrying  a  stupid  fellow,  convinced 
that  she  would  not  suit  a  man  of  merit — she  whose  care- 
ful mental  education  and  imagination  are  so  well  fitted 
to  render  happy  the  man  who  is  capable  of  appreciating 


216  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Apr. 

it.  Pouillet  was  also  on  the  verge  of  forming  a  ridicu- 
lous union,  in  order  to  forget  Henrietta.  All  this  lasted 
10  months.  You  who  are  a  mother  may  judge  of  my 
torments.  I  could  no  longer  sleep  and  shed  many  a  bitter 
tear.  My  husband  was  in  despair  and  blamed  me  for 
everything.  If  I  had  occasion  to  go  out  I  went  on  foot, 
however  tired  I  was,  in  order  to  meet  Pouillet,  convinced 
as  I  was  that  there  was  some  misunderstanding  which 
one  word  would  clear  up.  However,  a  mother  can  not 
speak  in  such  a  case.1  Finally,  when  about  to  marry, 
Pouillet  felt  that  the  sacrifice  would  be  too  great  and 
found  a  pretext  to  break  the  engagement.  I  had  used  all 
my  skill  in  breaking  that  of  Henrietta  and  in  estranging 
forever  the  poor  young  man  who  could  never  suit  her,  for 
an  intellectual  woman  married  to  a  fool  is  to  me  a  mon- 
strosity. Breaking  off  the  engagements  was  not  all. 
How  were  they  to  see  each  other  again?  My  elder  son 
met  his  dear  professor  of  physics,  who  was  enraptured 
to  see  him  again,  as  you  may  suppose.  Theodore  went 
home  with  him  and  then  Pouillet  came  again.  Dear 
friend,  a  mother  feels  for  her  daughter.  When  I  saw 
him  I  was  overcome  and  felt  that  the  fate  of  my  poor 
Henrietta,  consequently  more  than  mine,  depended  on 
that  visit.  My  husband,  enraptured,  kissed  me  and  told 
me  to  provide  for  everything,  to  agree  to  the  marriage, 
and  to  offer  a  dowry.  In  a  word,  after  two  months  of 
fears,  of  reticence,  and  new  misunderstandings,  Pouillet 
came  and  asked  me  whether  I  thought  that  Pichon  would 
give  his  consent  if  he  asked  for  Henrietta.  I  suppose 
you  think  my  troubles  were  o'er.  Not  at  all.  Henri- 
etta, enchanted,  did  not  wish  to  admit  to  her  father  or 
brother  that  she  had  been  mistaken  and  that  she  did  not 
hate  her  husband.  Her  father  thought  that  he  had 
1  Besides,  I  did  not  meet  him. 


i828]  MADAME    PICHON'S    SONS  217 

been  mistaken  and  that  she  did  not  love  him  any 
more  than  the  fool  that  she  had  come  near  marrying. 
Theodore,  being  persuaded  that  his  sister  only  married 
Pouillet  because  it  was  my  wish,  grew  desperate,  al- 
though he  used  to  like  him  as  a  brother.  Thus,  dear 
friend,  this  marriage  took  place  in  the  midst  of  fears 
and  reproaches  to  me,  and  while  parting  with  a  charm- 
ing daughter,  my  best  friend,  I  had  the  sorrow  of  seeing 
my  husband  and  son  reproach  me  with  having  sacrificed 
her  by  making  her  marry  a  man  she  did  not  love,  and 
with  having  deprived  them  of  her  without  having  se- 
cured her  happiness.  For  a  year,  however,  she  has  been 
the  most  happy  of  women,  and  that  consoles  me.  Pouil- 
let's  celebrity  is  increasing  every  day.  His  heart  and  his 
personal  pride  are  satisfied.  Their  pecuniary  situation 
is  good.  ...  I  assure  you  that  I  believe  it  is  fortu- 
nate for  my  sons  to  have  a  brother-in-law  who  shows 
them  that  labor  and  talent  are  the  surest  roads  to  domestic 
happiness  and  fortune.  Theodore  is  a  man  of  parts,  but 
lazy.  He  would  have  wished  his  sister  to  marry  a  man 
he  did  not  like  as  well  as  this  one,  but  who  would  have 
had  sufficient  influence  to  secure  him  a  position  so  that 
he  would  not  have  to  learn  any  profession.  He  is  study- 
ing to  be  a  lawyer  and  may  become  a  distinguished  one 
by  working.  He  will  then  have  glory,  independence,  and 
fortune.  Jerome,  the  younger,  is  witty  and  full  of  ardor. 
He  is  studying  all  he  can  in  order  to  enter  the  polytechnic 
school.  I. hope  he  will  not  come  out  of  it  a  soldier,  in 
spite  of  what  he  says  about  it,  and  that  he  will  acquire  a 
taste  for  science  and  enter  the  department  of  mines  or  of 
bridges  and  highways,  for  I  do  not  like  military  men. 
They  would  sell  their  country  for  a  cordon.  They  do  not 
understand  liberty  and  are  veritable  despots.  My  son- 
in-law  has  a  grand  quality  which  I  must  not  refrain  from 


218  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1828 

mentioning  to  you :  he  admires  your  country  and  you  in 
particular.  He  read  your  ode  five  years  ago  and  has  been 
scolding  me  ever  since  for  not  writing  to  you  oftener,  for 
he  is  convinced  (and  rightly)  that  correspondence  with 
you  must  be  a  great  pleasure.  Oh,  how  you  would  like 
my  young  married  couple !  There  is  wit,  patriotism,  the 
morals  of  the  golden  age,  imagination,  extensive  know- 
ledge, and  Henrietta  knows  English  and  German  well 
and  plays  well  on  the  piano.  All  this  is  happiness  for 
me,  is  it  not  ?  And  besides,  they  love  me  tenderly.  My 
mother,  who  is  over  84  years  old,  has  preserved  all  her 
physical  and  moral  faculties.  She  lives  in  our  house. 
Unfortunately  my  children  are  away  from  home,  but  as 
I  have  excellent  health  I  often  go  to  them  and  they  come 
to  see  me  as  often  as  they  can.  We  gain  by  seeing  one 
another  as  often  as  possible  while  we  are  able  to  live  near 
or  with  them.     .     .     . 

Good-bye,  dear  friend,  and  you  and  all  who  are  dear 
to  you  please  accept  the  assurance  of  my  affection  and 
that  of  Pichon,  as  well  as  his  regards. 

A.  Emilie  Pichon, 

nee  Brongniart. 

Mr.  Jefferson's  death  caused  us  much  grief.  Such 
men  are  a  loss  to  humanity  and  the  glory  of  the  human 
race. 

TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

Monday.     [1828] 
Yesterday,  my  dear  Bayard,  I  passed  some  hours  so 
agreeably  that  I  must  give  you  some  account  of  them. 

1  Jonathan  Bayard  H.  Smith,  Mrs.  Smith's  only  son,  was  born  July  9, 
1810,  graduated  at  Princeton  in  1829,  taking  second  honors.  He  practiced 
law  in  Washington  till  the  civil  war  broke  out,  when,  being  a  Southern 
sympathizer,  he  went  to  Baltimore.    He  died  in  California,  August  20,  1889. 


i828]  OWEN'S    PHILOSOPHY  219 

Mr.  Owen  of  Lanark,  passed  the  day  here.  Never 
have  I  met  with  any  one  whose  whole  heart  seemed  so 
full  of  benevolence,  whose  mind  was  so  exclusively  occu- 
pied with  schemes  for  the  promotion  of  the  happiness  of 
mankind,  his  time,  his  thoughts,  his  feelings,  his  for- 
tune are  all  devoted  to  this  all  absorbing  idea  (for  alas, 
he  is  but  a  visionary)  that  thus  fills  his  mind,  heart  and 
time,  with  a  confidence  so  sanguine  as  to  banish  every 
doubt  of  its  possibility.  In  his  ideal  system  of  perfect 
virtue,  and  consequently  perfect  happiness,  he  loses  sight 
of  the  inherent  principles  of  human  nature,  and  builds  his 
scheme  of  happiness  on  an  angelic  nature.  Or  rather, 
he  denies  that  there  are  any  inherent  principles  of  action 
in  man,  and  asserts  that  he  is  the  mere  creature  of  cir- 
cumstances. "Man,"  says  he,  "is  the  effect,  not  the 
cause.  It  is  not  his  natural  virtue  or  his  natural  vice, 
which  makes  his  happiness  or  misery.  It  is  the  good  or 
the  bad  circumstances  by  which  he  is  surrounded  which 
make  him  virtuous  or  vicious.  Circumstances  form  his 
nature."  Here  is  his  first  error.  To  convince  us,  how- 
ever, of  the  truth  of  his  hypothesis,  he  gives  as  an  ex- 
ample :  an  infant  born  among  Quakers  and  raised  among 
them  to  manhood,  and  asked  if  the  same  individual  raised 
from  infancy  to  manhood  among  Jews  or  among  savages, 
would  not  in  each  state  be  a  totally  different  character. 
I  allowed  that  he  would  be  a  different  character,  but  not 
a  different  being,  viz.  that  his  opinions  as  to  government, 
his  faith  as  to  religion,  his  mode  of  conduct,  of  living,  of 
dress,  his  pleasures  and  occupations,  would  all  be  modi- 
fied by  the  condition  in  which  he  was  brought  up,  and  as 
to  external  circumstances,  each  of  these  individuals  would 
be  perfectly  different  one  from  the  other,  and  yet,  all 
would  be  as  man  the  same  identical  being,  that  the 
Quaker,  the  Jew,  or  the  savage,  would  love  and  hate, 


220  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1828 

be  revengeful  or  merciful,  proud  or  humble,  ambitious  or 
lowly-minded,  irrascible  or  gentle, — in  fine,  that  under 
all  these  modifications,  he  was  still  the  same  being.  To 
this  Mr.  Owen  would  not  assent,  but  asserted  that  under 
a  certain  modification  of  circumstances,  he  would  be  ex- 
empt from  hatred,  revenge,  malice,  pride  and  anger,  and 
this  belief  in  his  mind  amounts  to  absolute  conviction, 
the  effort  of  his  life  had  been  and  always  will  be,  to  bring 
about  such  a  combination  of  circumstances,  as  should 
necessarily  make  man  a  perfectly  virtuous  and  therefore 
perfectly  happy  being.  He  asserted  that  he  had  made 
a  successful  experiment  at  Lanark,  where  he  had  taken 
children  from  two  years  of  age  to  12 ;  among  many  hun- 
dreds there  was  not  an  instance  of  jealousy,  rivalship, 
anger  or  hatred,  in  any  degree;  that  to  effect  this,  he 
banished  alike,  hope  or  fear,  and  had  neither  rewards  or 
punishments,  the  actual  pleasure  of  doing  right  was  a 
sufficient  reward  for  success  and  a  sufficient  stimulus  to 
effort ;  That  those  who  witnessed  the  effects  of  his  system 
of  education,  said  it  was  magical.  "But,  my  dear  Sir," 
said  I,  "did  you  ever  see  any  of  these  little  angels, 
after  they  grew  up  to  be  men  and  women?"  He  ac- 
knowledged he  never  had.  "You  knew  them  then  only 
while  their  wills  were  controlled  and  directed  by  your- 
self, while  in  fact  they  were  mere  machines.  I  fear, 
Sir,  when  their  passions  were  developed  and  their  wills 
were  allowed  free  action,  you  would  find,  after  all,  your 
angels  were  but  men  and  women, — even  pigs  are  pretty 
clean  little  animals,  but  when  grown  into  hogs,  are  ugly, 
dirty  creatures."  Mr.  Owen  laughed  at  my  exemplifica- 
tion, but  denied  my  inference.  Another  of  his  funda- 
mental principles  is,  man  cannot  believe  or  disbelieve  at 
will.  Yet,  in  every  state  of  society,  viz.  in  all  religions, 
Brahmin,  Mohamedan,  Jewish  or  Christian,  this  moral 


i828]  OWEN'S    SCHEMES  221 

impossibility  is  required  of  him,  and  non-compliance  pro- 
duces an  ideal  criminality,  which  in  all  countries  subjects 
man,  either  to  suffering  or  hypocracy  and  by  separating 
virtue  from  action,  and  by  attaching  it  to  Faith,  it  per- 
verts the  moral  instinct,  and  subverts  morality,  and  in 
so  doing  lays  a  foundation  for  vice. 

That  belief  does  not  depend  on  volition,  is  a  fact  I  have 
too  forcibly  learned  from  my  own  experience  to  deny, 
and  I  therefore  agreed  with  him  in  the  deductions  he 
drew  from  this  his  2d  fundamental  principle,  but  could 
not  carry  them  out  as  far  as  he  did,  which  was  to  believe 
nothing,  as  it  respected  religion. 

His  scheme  is  to  equalize  property,  or  throw  it  into  a 
common  stock,  so  that  no  one  will  be  very  rich,  and  none 
poor.  In  order  to  accomplish  this  he  would  have  society 
divided  into  communities, — no  community  to  exceed 
2000  individuals,  nor  be  less  than  800.  This  community, 
instead  of  living  in  towns  or  cities,  should  form  a  kind 
of  village,  extending  over  ten  miles  square, — each  com- 
munity should  have  within  itself  schools,  manufactures, 
agricultural  grounds,  &c  sufficient  for  the  abundant  sup- 
ply of  every  comfort,  nay  every  luxury  of  life,  and  I 
suppose  ten  miles  square  in  the  fullest  cultivation,  would 
do  this.  The  perfection  to  which  machinery  is  brought, 
lessens  manual  labour  in  such  a  great  proportion,  that 
instead  of  labouring  12  and  14  hours  a  day,  as  mechanics 
are  now  obliged  to  do,  in  order  to  gain  a  competence,  it 
would  not  be  necessary  for  them  to  labour  six  or  eight 
hours  and  would  thus  leave  them  a  great  portion  of  their 
time  for  intellectual  and  moral  improvement  and  like- 
wise for  amusement,  which  he  thinks  absolutely  necessary 
for  the  perfection  of  morals,  so  much  so  that  dancing, 
musick  and  other  pleasures,  are  at  Lanark  and  other 
places  where  he  has  tried  his  experiment  as  much  a  part 


222  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1828 

of  his  system  as  the  arts,  sciences  and  mechanics.  He 
would  allow  of  no  system  of  religion  being  taught,  but 
would  leave  all  men  absolutely  free  to  believe  or  disbelieve 
whatever  they  chose.  Marriage  is  to  be  released  from  its 
present  fetters  and  when  a  couple  grew  weary  of  each 
other,  they  would  be  allowed  to  separate  and  form  new 
connections,  and  as  his  system  is  totally  to  exterpate 
every  evil  passion  and  there  would  be  neither  hatred, 
rivalship,  jealousy,  anger,  or  animosity  of  any  kind,  he 
thinks  these  separations  would  not  frequently  occur. 
Such  are  the  outlines  of  his  scheme  for  universal  virtue 
and  happiness  and  uninterrupted  peace, — a  scheme  in 
which  he  has  undoubtedly  faith  and  which  he  not  only  be- 
lieves may  be,  but  will  be  realized.  All  the  world  divided 
into  small  communities!  The  whole  race  of  man  to  be 
perfectly  virtuous  and  perfectly  happy!  I  told  him  it 
would  be  nothing  more  than  the  Christian  milenium,  and 
I  believed  such  a  time  would  arrive  as  well  as  he  did,  but 
then  I  expected  it  would  be  brought  about  by  very  dif- 
ferent means.  He  is  extremely  mild  and  instead  of  being 
offended  by  opposition  or  difference  of  opinion  he  is 
pleased  with  free  discussion  and  even  bears  being  laughed 
at,  with  great  good  nature.  However  eroneous  and  per- 
nicious his  opinions  may  be,  he,,  himself,  I  think  a  truly 
benevolent  and  good  man.  This  bright  vision  fills  his 
mind,  to  the  exclusion  of  common  sense  and  universal 
experience, — he  is  an  amiable  mad-man.  Yet  such  is  his 
influence,  that  he  has  obtained  from  the  Mexican  Gov- 
ernment (from  whence  he  has  just  returned)  the  grant 
of  a  province  of  very  rich,  beautiful  and  nearly  uninhab- 
ited land,  (part  of  Texas)  where  he  means  to  establish 
his  system,  which  is  to  serve  as  a  model,  for  the  rest  of 
the  world,  and  he  calls  it  his  model-government.  His 
whole  soul  is  filled  with  this  scheme.     It  was  really  very 


i828]        VISIT    TO    CHARLOTTESVILLE  223 

interesting  to  hear  him  and  I  hope  this  letter  will  be 
interesting  to  you. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

Charlott's  Ville,  Saturday  evening  August  2d,  1828. 

.  .  .  .  We  are  at  a  spacious  and  elegant  hotel, 
have  a  drawing-room  on  the  second  floor,  with  our  bed- 
room opening  from  it  and  Mr.  Smith's  adjoining  ours, 
for  Anna  lodges  with  me,  the  bed-rooms  open  on  a  piazza 
from  which  we  see  mountains  rising  all  round  us.  The 
nearest  is  Monticello  on  the  north-west,  over  there  in  the 
south-west  rise  the  Alleghany,  or  Blue-ridge,  reposing 
in  their  blue  and  misty  grandeur  on  the  horizon  and  look- 
ing like  vast  masses  of  clouds.  From  our  drawing  room 
windows,  a  beautiful  country  beyond  the  Court-House 
and  some  of  the  private  dwellings  of  Charlottsville,  with 
mountains  in  the  distance.  Dear  Monticello!  my  chief 
inducement  to  take  this  long  journey,  was  once  more  to 
visit  its  revered  shades  and  to  weep  over  the  grave  of  one 
of  the  best  and  greatest  of  men  and  of  a  friend  loved  and 
venerated.  Mr.  Smith  had  business  here.  Mr.  Mon- 
roe's vast  landed  estate  in  this  neighborhood  being  made 
over  to  the  Bank  of  the  U.  S.  in  payment  of  his  debt  to 
that  institution,  Mr.  Biddle  expressed  a  wish  to  Mr. 
Smith,  that  if  such  a  journey  should  be  agreeable  to  him, 
he  should  come  in  and  superintend  the  sale,  which  is  to 
take  place  on  Monday.  The  Court  is  then  to  meet,  and 
it  is  expected  hundreds  of  people  will  then  be  here,  as 
politics,  law,  justice  and  business  of  all  kind  are  tran- 
sacted at  Virginia  Courts.  As  I  had  not  been  very  well, 
he  thought  a  journey  and  mountain  air  might  be  of  use 
to  me.  As  Anna  had  never  been  from  home,  excepting 
to  Heywood,  I  chose  her  as  my  companion  and  fille  de 


224  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

chambre  and  nurse,  should  any  of  my  attacks  of  fever, 
render  one  necessary.  To  make  the  journey  easy,  we 
came  in  our  own  carriage  and  to  vary  the  scene  and 
avoid  some  very  bad  roads,  we  came  as  far  as  Fredericks- 
burg in  the  steam-boat,  having  the  carriage  on  board. 
This  place  is  70  miles  from  Fredericksburg  and  by  rising 
with  the  sun,  we  have  performed  the  journey  with  great 
ease  in  two  days,  stopping  to  rest  two  hours  at  breakfast 
and  2  at  dinner.  From  the  Potomack,  to  this  elevated 
spot,  there  is  a  continued  rise,  hill  after  hill.  I  do  not 
believe  in  the  whole  distance  we  ever  found  2  miles  of 
level  at  a  time — generally  it  was  up  one  hill,  down  and 
up  another.  Some  of  them  tremendously  precipitous  to 
such  a  rare  traveller  and  great  coward  as  myself.  Yes- 
terday we  passed  by  a  turnpike,  one  end  of  a  mountain, 
the  assent  was  almost  too  much  for  my  courage.  Today 
I  suffered  but  little  from  fear  and  when  we  past  the  ridge, 
it  was  through  a  gap  along  the  banks  of  the  Ravenna,  a 
mountain  river,  rocky  and  enclosed  in  overhanging  and 
picturesque  banks.  It  was  a  kind  of  defile  through  which 
the  road  wound,  high  hills  on  each  side,  the  sun  hot  and 
scarcely  a  breath  of  air.  We  suffered  from  the  heat,  but 
it  enhanced  our  enjoyment  on  reaching  this  height  and 
taking  possession  of  our  cool,  airy  apartment,  together 
with  the  luxury  of  a  bath.  I  felt  so  well  and  so  happy, 
when  after  bathing  and  changing  my  dress,  I  seated  my- 
self at  the  pleasant  window  that  as  usual  I  longed  to  par- 
ticipate with  those  I  love,  and  as  Anna  wished  to  be  the 
writer  home,  I  determined  to  avail  myself  of  the  pro- 
pitious moment  to  write  to  you.  Our  supper  table  is  set 
and  Mr.  Smith  waits  for  me,  so  good  night.  I  will  only 
add,  I  had  a  short  and  pleasant  interview  with  Jefferson 
Randolph  as  he  was  passing  through  this  place,  with  his 
two  daughters,  the  great  grand  children  of  Mr.  Jefferson. 


i828]  UNIVERSITY    OF    VIRGINIA  225 

Monday  evening.  Yesterday  morning,  we  were  in- 
formed Mr.  Mead,1  one  of  the  best  and  most  pious 
preachers  in  the  Episcopalean  Church,  was  in  Charlotts- 
ville  and  would  preach.  We  went  to  hear  him  and  were 
both  edified  and  gratified.  There  was  a  very  large  and 
respectable  congregation.  At  least  20  private  carriages 
were  at  the  door,  as  many  of  the  gentry  from  the  country 
even  from  the  other  side  of  the  mountain  had  assembled 
to  hear  this  popular  preacher. 

Mr.  Hugh  Nelson,  late  Minister  to  Spain,  was  one  and 
many  other  of  the  most  respectable  men  of  the  place  were 
among  the  communicants.  There  were  six  tables.  I 
have  never  before  since  I  left  your  part  of  the  world  seen 
so  many  communicants.  From  this  circumstance  I 
should  suppose  much  greater  attention  was  paid  to  re- 
ligion, than  I  had  been  led  to  expect  in  Virginia.  We 
had  an  excellent  sermon  and  the  whole  service  was  solemn 
and  affecting.  In  the  afternoon,  we  went  to  the  Uni- 
versity. It  is  about  1  1-4  miles  from  town.  Never  have 
I  beheld  a  more  imposing  work  of  Art.  On  a  command- 
ing height,  surrounded  by  mountains,  rises  the  Rotunda, 
or  central  building,  forming  one  side  of  an  oblong  square, 
on  two  other  sides  running  from  north  to  south  are  the 
Pavillions,  or  Professor's  houses,  at  about  60  or  70  feet 
apart,  connected  by  terraces,  beneath  which  are  the  dor- 
mitories, or  lodging  sleeping  rooms  of  the  students.  The 
terrace  projects  about  8  feet  beyond  the  rooms  and  is  sup- 
ported on  brick  arches,  forming  beneath  the  arches  a 
paved  walk,  sheltered  from  the  heat  of  summer  and  the 
storms  of  winter.  A  vast  wide  lawn  separates  the  two 
rows  of  pavillions  and  dormitories.  The  south  end  is 
at  present  open  and  standing  there  gives  a  noble  and 

1  This  was  the  famous  William  Meade,  afterwards  Episcopal  Bishop  of 
Virginia,  the  author  of  "Old  Churches,  Ministers  and  Families  of  Virginia," 
the  greatest  storehouse  of  local  Virginia  history  in  existence. 


226  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

magnificent  view  of  the  buildings.  There  are  12  Pa- 
villions,  each  one  exhibiting  the  different  orders  of  archi- 
tecture and  built  after  classic  models,  generally  Grecian. 
The  rotunda  is  in  form  and  proportioned  like  the  Pan- 
theon at  Rome.  It  has  a  noble  portico, — the  pillars, 
cornice,  &c  of  the  Corinthian.  We  went  to  the  house 
of  Professor  Lomax,  who  is  a  near  relation  of  William 
Washington,  and  were  most  kindly  and  hospitably  re- 
ceived. He  has  a  very  large  family,  wife  and  daughters 
friendly  and  agreeable.  We  sat  in  the  Portico  of  his 
Pavillion  and  feasted  our  eyes  on  the  beauties  of  the  sur- 
rounding scenery,  then  walked  through  the  buildings, 
visited  the  Rotunda  and  the  library,  a  magnificent  apart- 
ment, larger  and  more  beautiful  than  the  library  in  the 
Capitol,  but  I  cannot  go  into  details.  The  whole  im- 
pression on  my  mind  was  delightful,  elevating,  for  the 
objects  both  of  nature  and  art  by  which  I  was  sur- 
rounded, are  equally  sublime  and  beautiful.  We  re- 
turned to  our  Hotel  by  sunset  and  soon  after  Mr.  Nelson 
and  one  or  two  other  gentlemen  and  a  lady  whom  we 
knew  called  and  passed  the  evening  with  us.  We  prom- 
ised this  amiable  family  to  return  and  take  a  more  minute 
survey  this  morning.  They  asked  us  to  dine,  but  Mr. 
Smith's  business  did  not  permit  our  accepting  the  invita- 
tion. We  promised  to  be  there  by  9  o'clock,  but  before 
that  hour  young  Mr.  Lomax  was  here  to  accompany  us. 
He  returned  with  us  and  has  just  gone,  not  having  left 
Anna  Maria's  side  ten  minutes  at  a  time.  I  have  been 
joking  her  on  her  attractions.  •  The  whole  family  re- 
ceived us  like  old  friends  and  near  relations.  Professor 
Lomax  is  a  charming  man,  in  every  respect,  looks,  voice, 
manners,  so  like  Mr.  Wirt  that  he  might  be  mistaken 
for  him.  He  and  I  sat  in  the  Library  looking  over  books 
and  conversing  on  literary  subjects  for  more  than  two 


i828]  VISIT   FROM    MR.    RIVES  227 

hours,  while  the  young  people  were  roaming  about  and 
climbing  to  the  dome  or  roof  of  the  Rotunda.  I  have 
seldom  passed  two  hours  more  agreeably.  I  felt  sorry 
Mr.  Smith  could  not  participate  in  my  pleasure,  but  busi- 
ness detained  him  in  the  Town.  A  violent  shower  pre- 
vented our  going  up  one  of  the  adjoining  mountains  on 
the  top  of  which  the  observatory  is  built.  Anna  Maria 
was  positively  enchanted  and  I  could  scarcely  get  her 
away.  When  we  returned  to  our  Hotel  we  found  the 
space  between  it  and  the  Court-House  filled  with  hun- 
dreds of  people  and  amused  ourselves  the  rest  of  the  day 
in  watching  the  various  and  curious  groups  and  hearing 
the  various  cries,  for  the  Court  is  likewise  a  kind  of  fair 
and  sales  of  various  kinds  going  on,  while  that  of  Jus- 
tice was  going  on  within  the  Court  House.  In  the  after- 
noon Professor  Lomax,  came  to  see  us,  soon  afterwards 
Mr.  Rives,1  member  of  Congress  and  several  other  per- 
sons called  on  us  and  agreeable  conversation  passed  away 
the  time.  Mr.  Rives  insisted  on  our  calling  at  his  house 
and  we  have  promised  to  pass  tomorrow  night.  We 
shall  go  in  the  morning  to  Monticello,  and  from  there  in 
the  afternoon  to  Mr.  Rives',  which  is  14  miles  further  on 
and  the  next  day  to  Mr.  Madison's. 

Thus  far,  my  excursion  has  been  far  pleasanter  than 
I  expected.  I  have  seen  more  persons  and  the  scenery 
has  been  more  beautiful  than  I  anticipated.  This  hasty 
sketch  will  give  you  a  very  imperfect  idea  of  the  pleasure 
I  have  enjoyed.  An  hour  ago,  we  had  one,  which  it 
would  require  a  whole  sheet  to  describe.  We  heard  a 
pleasing  voice,  delivering  what  we  thought  an  animated 
oration  on  the  pavement  before  the  house.  On  looking 
out  of  the  window  we  discovered  it  to  be  Phillip  Bar- 

1  William  Cabell  Rives,  of  Castle  Hill,  statesman,  diplomatist  and  author 
of  a  mighty  fragment  in  three  large  volumes,  of  a  "  Life  of  James  Madison," 
covering  only  part  of  his  career. 


228  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

bour,1  the  member  of  Congress.  He  was  sitting  on  the 
pavement  surrounded  by  a  dozen  or  twenty  gentlemen 
and  more,  whom  he  was  entertaining  with  a  history  of 
events,  debates  and  scenes  which  took  place  in  Congress- 
Hall.  Roars  of  laughter  followed  some  of  his  stories 
and  attention  waited  on  all.  I  mean  to  commit  one  or 
two  of  his  anecdotes  to  paper.  They  were  original  and 
piquant. 

It  is  now  late,  and  I  conclude  my  letter  with  my  visit 
to  Charlottsville  and  shall  when  I  return  home,  write  to 
you  again  and  give  you  an  account  of  the  rest  of  my  ad- 
ventures. Last  summer  you  and  sister  sent  me  sketches 
of  your  excursions  and  I  now  unexpectedly  have  an  op- 
portunity of  returning  the  compliment.  But  good  night 
my  dear  sisters. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

Sidney,  Aug.  12,  1828. 
.  .  .  .  Before  this  I  presume  you  have  received 
my  hastily  scribbled  letter  from  Charlottsville.  I  am  al- 
most sorry  that  I  wrote  so  carelessly  under  the  excitement 
of  feeling,  my  little  journal  would  have  been  better  had 
it  been  quietly  and  more  carefully  written  at  home.  It 
proved  at  least  that  the  idea  of  my  dear  sisters  is  ever 
present  and  enhances  what  pleasures  fall  to  my  lot.  I 
entirely  forget  where  I  left  off,  but  if  not  mistaken  it 
was  after  I  had  been  at  the  University  of  Virginia,  one 
of  the  finest  specimens  of  art  and  the  most  magnificent 
institutions  I  have  ever  seen.  It  has  a  most  imposing 
effect.  In  a  city,  or  land  cultivated  country  it  would  not 
be  so  impressive.     But  on  a  landscape  so  rich,  varied  and 

1  Philip  Pendleton  Barbour,  brother  of  James  Barbour,  Mrs.  Smith's 
friend.  He  was  afterwards  Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court.  He  lived  at 
"  Frascati,"  about  fifteen  miles  from  Charlottesville. 


i8*8]    DISCIPLINE  AT  THE  UNIVERSITY      229 

beautiful,  so  remote  from  any  city,  there  was  something 
novel  as  well  as  grand  in  its  locality,  that  certainly  had  a 
strong  effect  on  the  imagination.  Were  I  a  young  man 
and  a  student  there,  methinks  the  place  alone  would 
purify  and  elevate  my  mind.  The  discipline  of  the  Insti- 
tution has  been  greatly  improved,  and  Mr.  Madison, 
who  is  no  visionary  or  enthusiast,  says  he  does  not  be- 
lieve more  orderly  habits  or  purer  morals  are  to  be 
found  in  any  other  college  in  the  U.  S.  Some  years 
ago,  when  some  riot  broke  out  among  the  students, 
originating  in  a  mere  frolic,  in  which  the  faculty  inter- 
fered and  were  resisted,  they  had  to  call  together  the 
Rector,  (then  Mr.  J.)  and  some  of  the  nearest  visitors 
or  Trustees.  The  students  previous  to  their  arrival  had 
determined  not  to  yield,  or  give  up  each  others  names, 
but  if  it  became  the  alternative,  to  submit  to  expul- 
sion in  a  body.  Mr.  Jefferson  and  several  of  the  vis- 
itors assembled.  The  students  called  before  them,  stood 
erect,  and  looked  defiance.  There  was  a  silence  and 
pause  of  expectation,  waiting  Mr.  J.'s  rising.  He  sat 
amidst  them  with  his  bent  form  and  grey  hairs,  like  a 
Father  amidst  his  children.  He  looked  upon  them  with 
the  tenderness  of  a  father  and  it  required  an  evident 
struggle  to  repress  his  emotions.  At  last  he  arose,  his 
lips  moved,  he  essayed  to  speak, — burst  into  tears  and 
sank  back  into  his  seat.  The  shock  was  electric.  The 
proud  spirit  of  youth  yielded  to  the  tenderness  of  youth 
and  one  and  all  submitted,  acknowledged  their  faults, 
and  without  the  least  equivocation  answered  all  the  in- 
ter rogotories  put  to  them.  To  be  sure  Chapman  John- 
son, finding  Mr.  J.  could  not  speak,  arose  and  addressed 
them,  but  as  one  of  the  young  men  told  me,  it  was  not 
his  words,  but  Mr.  Jefferson's  tears  that  melted  their 
stubborn  purpose.     If  I  recollect  aright,  20  or  more  were 


23o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

expelled,  the  discipline,  reformed,  since  which  time  no 
disorder,  no  rebellion  of  any  kind  has  occurred.  The 
Episcopalian  and  Presbyterian  Ministers  alternately 
preach  at  the  University  on  Sabbath  afternoons,  and  the 
students  are  allowed  to  attend  in  the  mornings  any  of  the 
churches  in  town  their  conscience  or  inclination  lead 
them  to.  After  passing  21-2  pleasant  days  at  Char- 
lottsville  we  set  off  on  Tuesday  for  Monticello.  I  can- 
not stop  to  describe  the  windings  of  the  road  among  the 
mountain  scenery.  Near  the  summit,  a  little  off  the 
road,  we  got  out  of  the  carriage  to  visit  the  grave  of 
Jefferson.  A  rude  stone  wall  encloses  a  small  square, 
left  in  a  state  of  nature,  full  of  forest  trees  and  rocks 
and  wild  plants,  amidst  which  is  Mr.  J.'s  grave  between 
that  of  his  wife  and  daughter.  '  Were  I  to  describe  all 
the  feelings  which  swelled  my  bosom  while  standing  by 
the  side  of  that  lonely  and  lowly  grave  in  the  solitude 
of  the  mountains,  or  the  reflections  on  human  life  and 
human  greatness,  which  rushed  on  my  mind,  I  should 
leave  no  space  to  say  anything  of  the  interesting  family 
this  great  man  has  left  behind  him — left  poor  and  af- 
flicted. I  will,  then,  restrain  my  pen  and  carry  you  with 
me  to  the  summit  of  the  mountain,  on  which  his  now 
desolate  mansion  stands.  How  different  did  it  seem 
from  what  it  did  18  years  ago!  No  kind  friend  with 
his  gracious  countenance  stood  in  the  Portico  to  welcome 
us,  no  train  of  domestics  hastened  with  smiling  alacrity 
to  show  us  forward.  All  was  silent.  Ruin  has  already 
commenced  its  ravages — the  inclosures,  the  terraces,  the 
outer  houses.  But  we  drove  to  the  door,  ascended  the 
steps,  knocked,  and  after  a  while  a  little  negro  girl  poorly 
dressed  open'd  those  once  wide  portals.  We  entered  the 
hall  once  filled  with  busts  and  statues  and  natural  curi- 
osities to  crowding,  now  empty!     Bare  walls  and  de- 


i828]  MONTICELLO    REVISITED  231 

faced  floor,  from  thence  into  the  drawing  room,  once  so 
gay  and  splendid,  where  walls  were  literally  covered  with 
pictures  like  the  Hall, — bare  and  comfortless.  The  fur- 
niture pictures,  statues,  servants,  all  gone,  sold,  yes  sold ! 
not  descended  to  the  survivors.  But  Mrs.  Randolph 
came,  came  with  open  arms  and  an  affectionate  counte- 
nance and  seemed  like  the  spirit  of  the  place,  that  had 
survived  its  body.  Yet  no,  the  Master  spirit,  the  ani- 
mating spirit  was  gone.  And  yet  it  was  not  gone,  but 
seemed  to  be  invisibly  hovering  near.  Yes,  I  felt,  tho'  I 
could  not  see  its  presence.  After  a  few  moments  emotion, 
conversation  took  place.  Mrs.  R.  called  her  children, 
now  women  and  her  grand  children,  the  size  and  age  of 
what  the  others  had  been  when  I  last  saw  them.  Scarcely 
chairs  to  sit  on !  "You  will  excuse  all  that  is  wanting," 
said  she.  "You  know  all  that  has  passed."  What  a 
sweetness,  dignity,  resignation, — nay  cheerfulness.  And 
such  a  reserve !  But  her  soul  is  superior  to  the  accidents 
and  incidents  of  fortune.  It  is  only  where  these  changes 
touch  her  heart,  she  feels  their  pressure.  The  family 
dependent  on  her,  consists  of  4  daughters,  all  women,  4 
sons,  the  youngest  12  yrs  old,  '4  grand-children,  the  hus- 
band of  he*r  eldest  daughter  Mr.  Trist,  and  old  Mrs. 
Trist  his  grand  mother,  in  her  dotage,  with  no  home  but 
what  Mrs.  R.  can  give  her.  Mr.  Triste1  is  very  young 
and  not  yet  in  business.  Her  youngest  son  she  has  left 
at  Cambridge.  Her  eldest  is  married;  has  7  daughters, 
and  lives  on  his  father's  farm  which  he  has  purchased. 
Mrs.  R.  and  I  rambled  alone  to  a  distant  part  of  the 
grounds.  How  affecting  was  her  conversation!  the  de- 
tails of  the  last  few  years.  "Oh,  Mrs.  Smith,"  said  she, 
speaking  of  her  eldest  son,  "Jefferson  is  my  treasure! 

1  Nicholas  P.  Trist,  afterwards  Assistant  Secretary  of  State  and  a  dis- 
tinguished diplomatist. 


232  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

Never  was  there  such  a  son,  he  is  my  support, — nay  he 
is  the  father  of  us  all,  he  was  the  joy  and  support  of  his 
grand  father's  declining  years  and  the  comforter  and 
consolation  of  his  father's  dying  hour!"  He  does  in- 
deed appear  to  be  a  most  exemplary  man  and  is  very 
interesting  in  his  looks.  I  enquired  into  her  future  plans,, 
they  were  not  yet  fixed.  In  a  few  weeks  she  must  leave 
this  dear  and  sacred  spot  for  in  a  few  weeks  Monticello 
must  be  sold.  She  still  vacillates  between  Philadelphia 
and  Washington  as  her  future  place  of  residence.  She 
will  chose  that  which  she  thinks  will  be  most  advan- 
tageous to  her  children.  Mr.  Trist  has  studied  law  and 
intends  practicing  it.  One  of  her  boys  is  on  a  farm 
with  his  eldest  brother.  Should  she  come  to  Washing- 
ton, what  a  precious  and  interesting  addition  will  she 
and  her  family  be  to  our  little  circle  of  friends.  It  will 
be  an  important  event  to  me.  Next  to  my  sisters,  I  know 
not  the  woman  I  could  so  entirely  esteem  or  so  tenderly 
love.  She  unites  a  strong  and  highly  cultivated  intellect, 
with  a  soft,  tender  heart  and  a  frank,  communicative 
disposition.  Oh,  I  earnestly  hope  she  may  determine 
on  Washington! 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Sidney,]  Monday,  17th  August. 

Several  days  have  elapsed,  since  I  began  this  letter. 
A  little  fatigue  and  over  excitement  brought  on  an  attack 
of  fever.  I  am  now  quite  well  and  resume  my  journal. 
With  a  new  sheet  I  will  commence  a  new  subject,  one 
the  reverse  of  the  one  I  wrote  of  on  the  last  page. 

We  left  Monticello.  We  walked  from  the  very  top  to 
the  bottom  of  the  mountain,  between  2  and  3  miles. 


i828]  VISIT    TO    MONTPELIER  233 

The  road  was  so  rugged  and  broken,  that  the  carriage 
passed  it  with  difficulty.  We  travelled  about  thirty 
miles,  generally  through  woods  and  up  and  down  steep 
hills.  Mr.  Smith  told  us  very  seriously,  that  he  begged 
we  would  not  be  prevailed  on  to  stay  beyond  a  few  hours 
at  Mr.  Madison's,  as  his  business  required  his  immediate 
return.  Anna  and  I  felt  very  sorry,  but  of  course  deter- 
mined to  be  governed  by  his  wishes, — however  we  did  not 
the  less  heartily  wish  that  rain  or  some  other  incident 
might  occur  to  detain  us  at  Montpelier.  After  break- 
fast, the  next  morning,  we  resumed  our  journey  and 
after  having  lost  ourselves  in  the  mountain  road  which 
leads  thro'  a  wild  woody  track  of  ground  and  wandering 
for  some  time  in  Mr.  Madison's  domain,  which  seemed 
to  us  interminable,  we  at  last  reached  his  hospitable  man- 
sion. We  had  scarcely  entered  on  his  estate,  before  our 
wishes  were  granted  and  it  began  to  rain,  at  which  Anna 
and  I  rejoiced,  and  I  do  not  believe  Mr.  S.  was  sorry. 
We  drove  to  the  door.  Mr.  M.  met  us  in  the  Portico 
and  gave  us  a  cordial  welcome.  In  the  Hall  Mrs.  Madi- 
son received  me  with  open  arms  and  that  overflowing 
kindness  and  affection  which  seems  a  part  of  her  nature. 
We  were  at  first  conducted  into  the  Drawing  room,  which 
opens  on  the  back  Portico  and  thus  commands  a  view 
through  the  whole  house,  which  is  surrounded  with  an 
extensive  lawn,  as  green  as  in  spring;  the  lawn  is  en- 
closed with  fine  trees,  chiefly  forest,  but  interspersed 
with  weeping  willows  and  other  ornamental  trees,  all  of 
most  luxuriant  growth  and  vivid  verdure.  It  was  a 
beautiful  scene!  The  drawing-room  walls  are  covered 
with  pictures,  some  very  fine,  from  the  ancient  masters, 
but  most  of  them  portraits  of  our  most  distinguished 
men,  six  or  eight  by  Stewart.  The  mantlepiece,  tables 
in  each  corner  and  in  fact  wherever  one  could  be  fixed, 


234  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  Aug.] 

were  rilled  with  busts,  and  groups  of  figures  in  plaster, 
so  that  this  apartment  had  more  the  appearance  of  a 
museum  of  the  arts  than  of  a  drawing  room.  It  was 
a  charming  room,  giving  activity  to  the  mind,  by  the 
historic  and  classic  ideas  that  it  awakened. 

After  the  first  salutations  were  passed,  Mrs.  M.  in- 
vited us  to  a  chamber,  where  we  might  make  ourselves 
comfortable,  as  she  said.  She  led  the  way  to  an  elegant 
little  chamber,  on  the  same  floor  and  adjoining  her  own, 
furnished  with  crimson  damask  and  looking  out  on  the 
beautiful  lawn.  She  sent  a  maid  to  attend  us  and  said 
she  would  return  by  the  time  we  had  exchanged  our 
damp  clothes.  This  we  soon  did  and  she  then  carried 
us  in  to  her  own  chamber.  It  was  very  large  and  com- 
modious and  furnished  with  every  convenience  and  much 
elegance.  Before  a  large  sopha,  lay  her  work.  Couches, 
easy-chairs  &c  invited  us  to  ease  and  comfortable  indul- 
gence. I  told  her  I  had  no  notion  of  playing  lady  visitor 
all  day  and  sitting  prim  in  the  drawing  room  with  our 
hands  before  us  and  if  she  would  resume  her  seat  and 
her  work,  we  would  sit  with  her  and  work  too.  It  was 
so  agreed.  She  drew  Anna  on  the  sopha  beside  her  and 
gave  her  half  a  dozen  pretty  books  to  look  over,  while 
drawing  a  french  arm  chair,  or  fauteuil  (what  charming 
things  they  are !)  close  by  her,  I  reclined  at  my  ease,  while 
we  talked, — and  oh  how  we  did  talk.  We  went  over  the 
last  20  years  and  talked  of  scenes  long  past  and  of  per- 
sons far  away  or  dead.  These  reminisences  were  delight- 
ful. She  certainly  has  always  been,  and  still  is  one  of 
the  happiest  of  human  beings.  Like  myself,  she  seems 
to  have  no  place  about  her  which  could  afford  a  lodge- 
ment for  care  or  trouble.  Time  seems  to  favour  her  as 
much  as  fortune.  She  looks  young  and  she  says  she 
feels  so.     I  can  believe  her,  nor  do  I  think  she  will  ever 


James   Madison. 

From  a  picture  by  Gilbert  Stuart  in  the  possession  of 
T.  Jefferson  Coolidge. 


i828]  MADISON'S    CONVERSATION  235 

look  or  feel  like  an  old  woman.  They  are  seldom  alone, 
but  have  a  succession  of  visitors,  among  whom  are  a 
great  many  foreigners.  Few  visit  our  country  without 
visiting  Monticello  and  Montpelier.  She  gave  me  an 
entertaining  account  of  the  visit  of  the  three  members  of 
parliament,  who  passed  several  days  with  them.  I  could 
scarcely  credit  my  senses,  when  dinner  was  announced 
and  I  found  it  to  be  four  oclock!  So  rapidly  had  the 
morning  passed  away.  We  did  not  rise  from  table  until 
six  oclock.  Mr.  Madison  was  chief  speaker,  and  his 
conversation  was  a  stream  of  history,  and  continued  so 
until  ten  oclock,  when  we  separated  for  the  night,  so 
rich  in  sentiments  and  facts,  so  enlivened  by  anecdotes 
and  epigramatic  remarks,  so  frank  and  confidential  as 
to  opinions  on  men  and  measures,  that  it  had  an  interest 
and  charm,  which  the  conversation  of  few  men  now  liv- 
ing, could  have.  He  spoke  of  scenes  in  which  he  him- 
self had  acted  a  conspicuous  part  and  of  great  men,  who 
had  been  actors  in  the  same  theatre.  No  common-places. 
Every  sentence  he  spoke,  was  worthy  of  being  written 
down.  The  formation  and  adoption  of  the  Constitution. 
The  Convention  and  first  congress,  the  characters  of 
their  members  and  the  secret  debates.  Franklin,  Wash- 
ington, Hamilton,  John  Adams,  Jefferson,  Jay,  Patrick 
Henry  and  a  host  of  other  great  men  were  spoken  of 
and  characteristic  anecdotes  of  all  related.  It  was  living 
History!  When  I  retired  for  the  night,  I  felt  as  if  my 
mind  was  full  to  over-flowing,  as  if  it  could  not  contain 
all  the  new  ideas  it  had  received,  as  if  I  had  feasted  to 
satiety.  And  this  entertaining,  interesting  and  commu- 
nicative personage,  had  a  single  stranger  or  indifferent 
person  been  present,  would  have  been  mute,  cold  and 
repulsive.  After  dinner,  we  all  walked  in  the  Portico, 
(or  piazza,  which  is  60  feet  long,  supported  on  six  lofty 


236  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

pillars)1  until  twilight,  then  retreated  to  the  drawing 
room,  where  we  sat  in  a  little  group  close  together  and 
took  our  coffee  while  we  talked.  Some  of  Mr.  M.'s 
anecdotes  were  very  droll,  and  we  often  laughed  very 
heartily.  I  wish  my  letter  was  large  enough  to  contain 
a  few  of  them,  which  I  am  sure  would  make  you  laugh 
too.  He  retains  all  the  sportiveness  of  his  character, 
which  he  used  to  reveal  now  and  then  to  those  whom 
he  knew  intimately,  and  Mrs.  M.  says  he  is  as  fond 
of  a  frolic  and  of  romping  with  the  girls  as  ever.  His 
little  blue  eyes  sparkled  like  stars  from  under  his  bushy 
grey  eye-brows  and  amidst  the  deep  wrinkles  of  his  poor 
thin  face.  Nor  have  they  lost  their  look  of  mischief, 
that  used  to  lurk  in  their  corners,  and  which  vanished  and 
gave  place  to  an  expression  ever  solemn,  when  the  con- 
versation took  a  serious  turn. 

In  the  course  of  the  evening,  at  my  request  Mrs.  M. 
took  me  to  see  old  Mrs.  Madison.2  She  lacks  but  3 
years  of  being  a  hundred  years  old.  When  I  enquired 
of  her  how  she  was,  "I  have  been  a  blest  woman,"  she 
replied,  "blest  all  my  life,  and  blest  in  this  my  old  age. 
I  have  no  sickness,  no  pain;  excepting  my  hearing,  my 
senses  are  but  little  impaired.  I  pass  my  time  in  reading 
and  knitting."  Something  being  said  of  the  infirmities 
of  old  age.  "You,"  said  she,  looking  at  Mrs.  M.,  "you 
are  my  mother  now,  and  take  care  of  me  in  my  old  age." 
I  felt  much  affected  by  the  sight  of  this  venerable  woman. 
Her  face  is  not  as  much  wrinkled  as  her  son's  who  is  only 
yy  years  old.     Mr.  and  Mrs.  Madison  urged  our  passing 

^he  original  house  at  Montpelier  was  built  between  1756  and  1760  by 
Madison's  father  and  was  a  plain,  rectangular  brick  edifice  of  four  rooms. 
It  was  enlarged  at  different  times  and  various  improvements  made,  the  most 
important  being  in  1809  by  Dr.  Thornton.  Latrobe  also  lent  assistance 
in  adding  the  wings.  The  house  was  one  of  flawless  taste  architecturally 
when  Mrs.  Smith  paid  her  visit. 

2  She  lived  in  a  wing  of  the  Montpelier  house  where  she  had  a  separate 
establishment  from  her  son.     She  died  in  1829,  aged  99  years. 


i8*8]        MRS.    MADISON'S    AFFABILITY  237 

several  days  with  them,  and  on  our  declining  told  us  we 
must  come  soon  again  and  stay  longer.  Anna  Maria 
was  highly  gratified  and  delighted  and  says  if  she  lives 
to  be  as  old  as  the  venerable  mother,  she  will  never  lose 
the  impression  this  visit  has  made  on  her  mind.  She 
listened  to  the  conversation  with  the  greatest  interest  and 
was  charmed  with  Mrs.  M.'s  affable  affectionate  manner. 
Mrs.  M.  called  her  nothing  but  "my  little  girl"  and  talked 
a  good  deal  to  her.  One  time  on  the  portico,  she  took 
Anna  by  the  hand,  saying,  "come,  let  us  run  a  race.  I 
do  not  believe  you  can  out  run  me.  Madison  and  I  often 
run  races  here,  when  the  weather  does  not  allow  us  to 
walk."  And  she  really  did  run  very  briskly, — it  was 
more  than  I  could  do,  had  I  attempted  it,  which  I  did  not, 
however,  as  I  preferred  listening  to  the  gentlemen's  con- 
versation. We  parted  with  them  the  next  morning  after 
lingering  until  a  late  hour  over  the  breakfast-table.  The 
rest  of  our  journey,  50  miles  by  land  and  70  by  water, 
was  quiet,  commonplace,  every  day  pleasure,  which  it  is 
not  worth  detailing.  We  reached  home  on  Saturday 
after  10  days  absence.  Eleven  days  of  agreeable  travel- 
ling, during  which  we  had  seen  three  grand  and  interest- 
ing objects,  the  University,  Monticello  and  Montpelier. 
Anna  says  it  will  be  an  epoch  in  her  life,  to  which  she 
shall  always  recur  with  the  most  pleasurable  feelings. 
I  paid  the  penalty  I  always  pay,  for  a  deeply  excited  in- 
terest or  very  lively  emotion, — a  fever.  It  confined  me 
three  days  to  my  bed,  but  when  the  pain  was  subdued, 
I  found  pleasure  in  my  confinement  to  a  bed  surrounded 
by  my  dear  attentive  children.     .     .     .         Farewell. 


238  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  Nov.  ai,  1828. 
....  Two  weeks  have  passed  since  we  located 
ourselves  in  our  new  habitation.1  Never  in  my  life  have 
I  been  so  comfortably  and  agreeably  fixed.  My  wishes 
are  completely  satisfied.  Our  house,  a  delightful  one,  in 
the  best  part  of  the  city,  surrounded  with  good  neigh- 
bors, good  churches  and  good  pavements  which  enable 
us  to  visit  both  neighbors  and  churches  in  all  weather. 
You  will  recollect  the  situation  of  the  Department  of 
State  &c — it  is  opposite  to  this.  A  broad  pavement  leads 
one  way  to  Capitol  Hill  and  another  to  George-Town, 
besides  cross  paved  ways  in  every  direction.  We  could 
keep  up  a  very  social  intercourse  now,  without  a  carriage, 
but  this,  tho'  not  a  necessity  is  a  very  agreeable  con- 
venience and  will  add  greatly  to  our  pleasure.  Mrs. 
Clay,  Mrs.  Southard,  Mrs.  Lovel,  Mrs.  Cutts,  Mrs. 
Newal,  Mrs.  Cashier  Smith,  (cashier  for  Bank)  Mrs. 
Barret,  Mrs.  Lawyer  Jones,  Mrs.  Genl.  McComb,  Mrs. 
Johnson,  Mrs.  Andrew  Smith,  (formerly  Miss  Graham) 
Mrs.  Rush,  Mrs.  Wirt,  Mrs.  Thornton,  are  our  neigh- 
bors, viz  is  within  two  squares;  the  most  distant  is  not 
more,  and  many  are  on  the  same  square  and  some  within 
a  few  doors.  Excepting  Mrs.  Barret,  (who  we  are  told 
is  a  charming  woman  and  our  nearest  neighbor)  all  are 
old  and  familiar  acquaintances  some  of  them  my  most 
intimate.  Mrs.  Genl.  Porter,  Mrs.  Seaton,  Miss  Vale 
and  several  other  old  and  agreeable  acquaintances  tho' 
farther  off,  are  still  within  walking  distance.  These  I 
have  named  and  twenty  others  have  already  been  to  see 

xThe  new  house  occupied  the  square  between  Pennsylvania  Avenue, 
15th  Street  and  H  Street,  and  faced  on  15th  Street,  opposite  what  is  now 
the  Barton  Hotel. 


i8»s]  NEIGHBORS    AND    VISITORS  239 

us.  Some  of  them  have  been  three  or  four  times,  setting 
an  example  of  the  sociability  to  which  they  invite  us. 
Having  so  totally  given  up  society,  I  had  no  idea  that 
the  persons  whom  I  had  for  so  many  years  declined  visit- 
ing would  have  come  to  see  us,  and  expected  to  have  had 
(what  I  really  wish  for)  a  very  small  circle,  at  the  largest 
not  exceeding  a  dozen  families.  But  this  part  of  my  plan 
I  must  relinquish,  unless  I  wish  to  give  offence.  At  least 
30  families  have  already  visited  us  and  I  am  over  head 
and  ears  in  debt.  Yet  I  hope  to  limit  habits  of  intimacy 
and  not  allow  my  time  to  be  wholly  taken  up  by  society. 
If  it  depends  on  me,  a  very  few,  very  few,  will  be  on 
the  list  of  intimates,  but  among  them  shall  be  sweet  Mrs. 
Wirt  and  her  lovely  daughters.  Instead  of  a  formal 
morning  call,  she  and  the  girls  came  in  the  afternoon  and 
urged  us  to  follow  their  example.  Mrs.  W.  and  her  two 
eldest  daughters,  Elizabeth  and  Catherine,  last  winter 
joined  the  church,  and  tho'  they  participate  in  the  general 
amusements  of  society  it  is  with  that  moderation,  which 
fulfils  the  precept  of  St.  Paul,  to  use  the  world,  but  not 
abuse  it.  She  is  however  a  domestic  woman,  visiting 
as  little  as  her  situation  will  allow.  The  whole  family 
are  refined  and  intellectual  and  derive  their  chief  amuse- 
ments from  books,  music  and  conversation.  Catherine 
is  in  such  delicate  health,  that  she  is  never  to  go  out  of 
an  evening.  She  is  one  of  the  loveliest  and  most  interest- 
ing creatures  I  have  ever  met  with,  and  so  tender,  so 
carressing,  so  delicate  and  soft  in  her  manners.  But 
more  of  her  another  time.  Mr.  Wirt  has  taken  two  pews 
in  the  church  in  which  we  have  taken  ours  and  for  the 
same  reason,  Mr.  Campbel's  being  the  pastor.1  It  was 
under  his  ministry  that  the  girls  made  an  open  profession 

1  John  Nicholas  Campbell,  pastor  of  the  New  York  Avenue  Presbyterian 
Church. 


24o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

of  religion.  He  had  a  bible  class  they  diligently  at- 
tended. He  is  a  great  favorite  and  friend  of  the  family 
and  this  summer  has  been  traveling  with  Mr.  Wirt  and 
his  daughters.  I  am  not  personally  acquainted  with  him, 
but  am  prepared  to  admire  and  reverence  him,  altho'  a 
very  young  man.  As  Mrs.  W.'s  is  the  family  I  feel 
more  desirous  of  intimacy  with,  both  on  my  own  and  my 
girls  account,  I  have  said  more  of  them  than  any  other 
and  hope  during  the  winter  to  have  much  more  to  say. 
Since  my  arrival  in  the  city,  most  fervently  have  I 
wished  Mr.  Adams  would  remain  in  office.  The  prompt 
kindness  and  friendly  attentions  showed  us  by  many  of 
those  whose  continuance  depends  on  Mr.  Adams  induces 
this  wish.  But  the  question  is  otherwise  decided  and 
notwithstanding  Mr.  Smith's  political  satisfaction  I  feel 
great  personal  regret.  I  shall  lose  not  only  agreeable 
acquaintance  but  a  tried  friend,  for  such  has  Mrs.  Clay 
been,  and  of  late  Mrs.  Southard  and  the  Judge  have  been 
to  us  like  near  relatives.  But  above  all  shall  I  regret  the 
loss  of  the  Wirt  family.  The  mother  and  father  all  I 
wished  as  friends  for  myself,  and  the  daughters  the 
very  characters  I  would  have  chosen  among  thousands 
for  my  daughters  friends,  and  they  showing  as  they 
have  done,  similar  desires  of  intimacy  with  us.  Oh 
that  Genl.  Jackson  may  leave  the  Attorney  General 
with  us,  whatever  other  changes  he  makes.  Mrs. 
Johnson1  of  Louisianna,  is  Ann's  favorite.  She  is 
not  only  the  fashion  but  the  Ton,  yet  admiring  and 
admired  as  she  is,  and  the  gayest  among  the  gay,  she  has 
a  simplicity  and  frankness  and  kind  heartedness  about 
her,  that  is  very  attractive,  and  there  is  no  one  Ann  likes 
as  well.  She  buys  every  new  book  and  they  are  all  at 
our  service.     She  sent  me  a  dozen  the  other  day.     As 

1  Wife  of  Josiah  S.  Johnston,  Senator  from  Louisiana. 


i828]  POLITICAL    CHANGES  241 

for  Books,  we  shall  be  at  no  loss.  The  library  of  the 
Dept.  of  State,  is  close  to  us,  and  the  city  library  and  I 
count  on  access  to  the  Congress  Library  as  in  times  of 
old,  when  as  Mary  Ann  may  recollect  I  used  to  have 
members  names  signed  on  blanks  for  me  to  fill  out  at 
my  pleasure.  The  only  difficulty  will  be  to  find  time  to 
read.  I  will  tell  you  our  plan  of  living — our  parlours 
open  into  each  other  with  folding  doors — fire  in  both 
is  made  before  breakfast.  After  breakfast  I  come  into 
the  front  parlour,  a  table  with  my  india  writing  and 
work-box  is  on  it,  and  books  and  paint-box  &c,  stands  in 
the  middle  of  the  room,  always  ready  for  me  to  write, 
read  or  sew.  The  breakfast  things  are  directly  removed 
to  the  kitchen,  which  is  light,  nice  and  comfortable,  where 
the  house  keeper  goes  to  attend  to  her  duties,  the  other 
girls  sit  in  the  dining-room,  at  their  work  or  reading  until 
one  oclock.  Then  we  visit,  and  walk  if  the  weather  is 
good,  or  receive  visitors,  or  join  our  circles  and  while  one 
reads  aloud  the  other  works.  Excepting  three  rainy 
days,  we  have  not  been  alone  a  single  day,  having  a  re- 
ception of  visitors  from  one  oclock  until  bed-time.  After 
tea,  Mr.  Smith  sits  alone  in  the  dining  room  until  9  and 
then  joins  us,  when  Ann,  myself,  or  some  of  our  guests 
play  chess  with  him,  unless  prevented  by  the  pleasures 
of  conversation.  We  are  engaged  in  reading  aloud,  the 
Lady  of  the  Manor  and  Mrs.  Hemer's  dramatic  pieces. 
Each  of  us  have  different  books  of  a  more  instructive  cast 
for  our  individual  study.  Until  one  oclock  we  do  not 
visit  and  hope  to  be  able  not  to  receive  visitors.  Sunday 
is  a  delightful  day  to  us  all,  especially  the  servants.  My 
arrangements  are  such,  that  only  one  of  the  women  re- 
mains at  home  and  that,  only  till  dinner  is  over,  the  other 
woman  and  William,  Lawrence  and  Mary  Ann  go  to 
Sunday  school  and  then  three  times  to  church.     The  girls 


242  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

have  already  commenced  their  Sunday  school  labours. 
We  have  to  rise  very  early,  but  so  much  the  better.  Mr. 
Gallaudet  (you  must  I  think  remember  the  old  gentleman 
when  we  lived  in  Phila)  is  to  be  their  constant  Sunday 
beau,  to  take  his  tea  here  and  then  accompany  them  to 
evening-church. 

This  is  the  second  day  it  has  rained  without  interrup- 
tion, to  me  it  is  pleasant  weather  and  I  enjoy  the  unin- 
terrupted quiet  it  affords  us.  After  finishing  this  letter 
I  shall  sit  down  and  read  the  American  Review  some 
articles  of  which  require  close  attention.  We  made  two 
new  acquaintances  this  week,  Mr.  Burrel  Randolph, 
(brother  of  Beverly)  and  Mr.  Triste,  a  young  gentleman 
married  to  a  grand-daughter  of  Mr.  Jefferson's  just  from 
Monticello.  Mr.  Clay  has  given  him  an  appointm  of  14 
hundred  a  year.  He  brought  me  an  interesting  letter 
from  Mrs.  Randolph,  who  from  motives  of  economy  will 
not  remove  to  this  place  until  next  autumn.  I  wish  I 
had  had  a  letter  of  yours  to  answer  and  mine  should 
not  then  have  been  so  full  of  egotism.  Let  me  intreat 
you  to  write  soon  to  your  affectionate  sister. 


TO   J.   BAYARD   H.   SMITH 

[Washington,]  Sunday  evening,  Novr  23,  1828. 
.  .  .  .  Mr.  Triste  is  a  very  interesting  man  and 
when  he  conversed  of  Mr.  Jefferson  I  listened  to  him  with 
delight.  He  drew  me  a  plan,  designed  by  Mr.  J.  for  the 
family  grave  yard  and  speaking  of  his  grave,  asked  me 
if  I  had  observed  a  venerable  oak  tree  which  shaded  it. 
"Beneath  that  tree,"  said  he,  "Mr.  Jefferson  when  a 
young  man  was  accustomed  to  sit  and  muse,  and  when 
he  and  Dabney  Carr,  his  early  and  bosom  friend,  rested 


i8»8]  JEFFERSON'S    GRAVE  243 

from  their  rambles  it  was  at  the  foot  of  this  tree.  Here 
he  enjoyed  these  outpourings  of  the  soul,  that  perfect 
sympathy,  which  a  friendship  so  fond  and  true  only 
could  afford.  On  one  occasion  they  mutually  promised 
each  other  that  who  ever  died  first  should  be  buried 
under  this  tree  and  that  the  surviver  when  his  turn  came 
should  lie  by  the  side  of  his  friend.  Mr.  Carr  died  at 
a  distance  from  Monticello,  while  Mr.  J.  was  absent,  I 
believe  in  Europe.  On  his  return  he  had  his  friend's 
body  taken  up  and  brought  to  the  appointed  spot.  Mr. 
J.'s  wife  was  laid  near;  a  place  between  his  friend  and 
wife  was  reserved  for  himself,  and  there  he  now  rests 
beneath  his  favorite  oak."  I  wish  my  letter  would  admit 
of  my  giving  you  other  interesting  details,  but  it  does 
not.  Tuesday  it  snow'd,  and  falling  weather  continued 
until  Thursday  afternoon,  when  the  sun  shone  forth 
brightly,  previous  to  setting.  We  took  advantage  of  the 
fine  weather  next  day  to  pay  a  great  many  visits.  We 
were  all  out  and  I  did  not  expect  to  find  any  body  at 
home.  Mrs.  Rush  was,  and  her  room  was  so  comfort- 
able and  charming  and  she  was  so  agreeable  that  I  paid 
a  most  unfashionable  visit.  After  dinner  Ann  and  I 
went  out  again.  We  meant  only  to  make  calls,  but 
they  turned  into  social  and  pleasant  visits.  First  at  Mrs. 
Southard's.  She  told  us  Judge  Southard  had  just  gone 
to  see  us.  We  staid  to  tea  and  soon  afterwards  he  came 
in  and  said  he  had  taken  his  tea  with  Mr.  Smith  and  the 
girls.  He  talked  very  frankly  of  his  removal  next  March 
and  his  future  plans  and  from  this  subject  we  reverted 
to  inaugurations  of  all  the  Presidents  and  their  attendant 
circumstances  and  went,  that  is  I  went,  into  a  history  of 
Washington  from  the  time  the  government  first  came. 
Some  of  our  recitations  were  quite  amusing  and  when 
I  rose  to  depart,  Judge  S.  said,  I  had  better  sit  still  and 


244  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

talk  over  old  times.  We  wished  however  to  pay  an 
evening  social  visit  to  Mrs.  Wirt.  We  were  ushered 
into  a  very  large  and  elegant  drawing  room,  in  the  middle 
was  a  round  table,  cover'd  with  books,  engravings,  work- 
boxes  &c  &c  lit  by  a  splendid  lamp.  Round  the  table 
was  seated  the  young  ladies  and  2  young  gentlemen.  A 
rousing  hickory  fire  blazed  in  the  chimney  and  diffused 
warmth  and  cheerfulness  through  the  room.  On  one 
side  of  the  fire  Mrs.  Wirt,  with  a  small  table  and  candles 
by  her,  sat  reading.  I  have  never  seen  such  a  union  of 
comfort  and  elegance,  I  might  say  splendor.  Ann  joined 
the  young  people  at  the  table  and  I  sat  on  the  sopha  by 
Mrs.  Wirt.  Coffee  was  immediately  brought  in  and 
afterwards  dried  fruits.  But  the  best  part  of  the  enter- 
tainment was  intellectual.  The  girls  brought  me  their 
albums  to  look  over,  full  of  beautiful  paintings,  and 
original  poetry — they  were  quite  a  treat.  Mr.  Wirt  and 
Mr.  King  soon  joined  us  and  the  conversation  was  so 
agreeable,  that  fond  as  I  am  of  music  I  regretted  the  in- 
terruption it  gave  to  conversation.  Catherine  played  on 
the  harp  and  sung  to  it  some  sweet  songs ;  afterwards  she 
accompanied  Elizabeth  on  the  piano,  with  her  harp  in 
some  very  fine  pieces.  Mr.  Wirt  listening  in  apparent 
rapture  and  requiring  the  harp  to  be  tuned  and  retuned, 
till  as  he  said  it  was  within  "half  a  hair's  breadth"  the 
same  tone  as  the  piano.  At  last  the  piece  concluded  and 
we  bade  this  charming  family  good  night  and  found  to 
our  astonishment  when  we  reached  home  that  it  was 
near  11  o'clock. 

The  domestic  habits,  style  of  living,  and  character  of 
this  family,  come  nearer  to  my  beau-ideal,  than  that  of 
any  other  I  know.  I  have  endeavored  to  describe  it,  in 
my  Seymour  Family;  for  you  know  Mr.  Wirt  was  the 
model  of  my  Mr.  Seymour. 


i828]      "THE    FEROCIOUS    WINEBAGOS"        245 


TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

[Washington,]  Sunday  evening,  30  Nov.  1828. 
.  .  .  .  I  told  Genl.  P.1  I  was  a  self  constituted 
delegate  from  the  young  ladies  of  Washington,  to  beg  he 
would  use  his  authority  and  forbid  the  ferocious  Wine- 
bagos  from  assaulting  the  girls  in  the  manner  they  did. 
They  have  run  after  several  young  ladies  and  others  they 
have  caught  in  their  arms  and  kissed,  till  decent  young 
women  are  nearly  afraid  to  walk  out.  He  promised  he 
would  attend  to  my  request  and  have  such  improper  lib- 
erties repressed.  While  discussing  this  subject,  Gov- 
ernor Cass2  came  in,  and  Mrs.  Porter  told  him  the  com- 
plaints I  had  brought  against  his  Indians.  He  would  not 
allow  they  could  be  justly  censured  and  vindicated  them 
with  great  warmth.  However,  next  day  he  went  to 
their  lodgings,  enquired  into  the  business  and  gave  strict 
orders  to  have  them  properly  watched.  You  have  no 
idea,  what  a  general  dread  they  inspired.  On  Tuesday 
Mary  Miller  and  Caroline  Breckenridge  came  to  dinner, 
and  in  the  afternoon  Virginia  Southard,  Esther  Smith, 
our  neighbor,  The  Seatons  were  asked  but  did  not  come. 
I  sent  for  James  Doughty  Mr.  Ellison,  Dawes  Elliot  and 
Edward  Cranch  wishing  to  introduce  our  friends  to 
Mary  Miller.  These  were  the  young  folks,  Mrs.  Clay 
and  Mrs.  Southard,  Mr.  Claibourn3  and  Governr  Cass 
the  •  old  folks.  I  expected  Mrs.  Bomford  and  Mrs. 
Thornton  and  Mrs.  Johnson  and  their  husbands.  The 
gentlemen  of  the  Cabinet  who  were  to  come  received  a 
summons  to  attend  the  President  at  his  dinner,  on  busi- 
ness and  could  not  get  away  until  9,  when  they  adjourned 

1  Peter  B.  Porter,  of  New  York,  Secretary  of  War,  a  distinguished  officer 
in  the  War  of  1812. 

2  Louis  Cass  was  then  Governor  of  Michigan  Territory. 

3  Nathaniel  H.  Claiborne,  Representative  from  Virginia. 


246  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

to  Mrs.  Johnson's  where  they  had  been  previously  en- 
gaged to  supper.  I  introduced  all  your  young  friends 
to  Mary,  Dawes  Elliot,  seemed  to  be  very  much  pleased 
and  conversed  almost  the  whole  evening  with  her.  Mrs. 
Southard  asked  all  the  ladies  present  to  spend  the  next 
evening  with  her,  and  never  did  I  spend  a  merrier  eve- 
ning. As  Mrs.  Seaton  said,  she  heard  there  was  no  one 
there  above  15  years  old.  We  certainly  all  acted  like 
girls,  excepting  myself.  I  did  not  dance,  but  played 
chess,  tho'  not  with  much  gravity  I  must  confess.  Per- 
ceiving Mary  M.  did  not  enjoy  the  dancing,  I  asked  her 
to  play.  Mr.  Shaler,  our  Consul  at  Algiers  and  an  old 
acquaintance  of  mine,  sat  near  and  alternately  helped  us. 
Afterwards  I  played  with  him  and  then  with  Dr.  Lovel. 
But  there  was  such  a  laughing  and  talking  around  me, 
I  could  not  help  joining  in  the  mirth,  losing  my  game. 
The  girls  had  no  beaux  and  in  order  to  set  them  a  danc- 
ing, Mrs.  Clay,  Mrs.  Johnson,  Lovel,  Jessup  and  others 
danced  with  them  and  were  as  merry  as  a  parcel  of  girls. 
Mr.  Clay,  had  been  dining  out,  and  did  not  come  in 
until  9,  but  in  such  spirits,  that  he  added  to  those  of  the 
company.  I  never  saw  him  so  gay  and  agreeable.  In- 
deed all  the  defeated  party,  appear  as  if  they  had  thrown 
down  heavy  burdens  and  felt  light  of  heart.  Mr.  Adams 
has  rented  Commodore  Porter's  house  for  Mrs.  Adams, 
whose  health  will  not  allow  of  her  residing  in  Boston, 
and  many  people  think  he  will  likewise  remain  here,  as 
his  rupture  with  his  old  friends  and  party,  will  make 
Boston  a  very  unpleasant  home  for  him.  Mr.  Wirt,  it 
is  said,  will  settle  in  Baltimore  and  the  other  gentlemen 
return  to  their  respective  homes. 

On  Wednesday  we  passed  the  morning  in  visiting  and 
paid  off  some  of  our  debts,  but  on  our  return  found  we 
had  incumbered  new  ones.     This  morning  visiting  breaks 


i828i  WINTER    GAIETIES  247 

up  all  my  sober  plans.  I  will  struggle  hard  to  have 
more  time  to  myself,  for  the  girls  and  myself  are  already 
wearied  of  so  much  going  out.  Wednesday  evening  we 
had  to  ourselves  and  passed  it  in  work  and  reading. 
Thursday,  Julia  Seaton  spent  the  day  here  and  in  the 
afternoon  Col.  and  Mrs.  Bomford  came  and  staid  until 
11  oclock.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Seaton  called  on  their  return 
from  the  President's  where  they  had  taken  tea  and  passed 
the  early  part  of  the  evening.  Friday,  a  delightful  rainy 
day,  we  passed  in  reading  and  work.  Saturday  went  to 
see  the  Indian  Dance,  in  the  afternoon  to  see  Mrs.  Clifton 
and  in  the  evening  at  home.  Mr.  Triste  came  in  to  tea 
and  sat  until  near  ten  with  us.  We  have  had  a  great 
deal  of  morning  company  which  has  lengthened  our  list 
of  acquaintances  far  beyond  my  wish.  Govr  Cass  is  the 
most  agreeable  new  acquaintance  I  have  formed.  He  is 
very  frank  and  communicative  and  his  conversation  in- 
teresting. 

Tomorrow  Congress  opens.  I  expect  and  hope  we 
will  have  a  quiet,  tranquil  winter.  Our  city  is  rapidly 
filling,  not  only  with  members  but  with  strangers.  In 
my  next,  I  shall,  I  suppose  have  something  more  in- 
teresting to  say. 

It  is  with  difficulty  I  have  written  thus  far.     John 

Scott  (his  first  visit)  and  William  Bryan  and  the 

were  talking  all  around  me  and  I  scarcely  know  what 
I  have  written.  -I  shall  watch  anxiously  for  your  next 
letter.  If  you  are  well,  write  immediately  on  receipt 
of  this,  which  I  suppose  will  be  Wednesday  evening  and 
if  you  write  on  Thursday  I  shall  get  your  letter  on  Sat- 
urday. The  girls  join  me  in  affectionate  remembrances. 
Tell  me  whether  you  see  Mary  Miller  and  what  she  tells 
you  about  Washington,  how  she  likes  us,  &c  &c.  Good 
night  dearest  Bayard. 


248  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington,]  Deer.  (20,  I  believe)  1828. 
.  .  .  .  You  ask  how  the  administration  folks  look 
since  their  defeat.  They  all  with  one  consent,  do  what 
I  think  dignity  and  self  respect  requires, — appear  cheer- 
ful and  good  humoured,  mix  freely  and  frankly  with  the 
triumphant  party  and  in  Congress  all  is  harmony  I  am 
told.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Adams  have  gone  a  little  too  far  in 
this  assumed  gaiety  at  the  last  drawing  room  they  laid 
aside  the  manners  which  until  now  they  have  always 
worn  and  came  out  in  a  brilliant  masquerade  dress  of 
social,  gay,  frank,  cordial  manners.  What  a  change 
from  the  silent,  repulsive,  haughty  reserve  by  which 
they  have  hitherto  been  distinguished.  The  great  audi- 
ence chamber,  never  before  opened,  and  now  not  finished 
was  thrown  open  for  dancing,  a  thing  unheard  of  before 
at  a  drawing-room !  The  band  of  musick  increased  the 
hilarity  of  the  scene.  All  the  folks  attached  to  the  ad- 
ministration made  a  point  of  being  there.  The  ladies 
of  the  Cabinet  in  their  best  bibs  and  tuckers.  Most  of 
them  in  new  dresses  just  arrived  from  Paris.  Every 
thing  in  fact  was  done  to  conceal  the  natural  feelings 
excited  by  disappointment  and  to  assume  the  appearance 
not  only  of  indifference,  but  of  satisfaction.  As  one  of 
the  opposition  members  observed,  "The  Administration 
mean  to  march  out  with  flying  colours  and  all  the  honors 
of  war."  Well,  I  think  I  would  do  so  too,  only  not 
carry  it  so  far  as  to  betray  affectation.  In  private  and 
social  intercourse,  among  themselves,  where  no  false 
assumption  is  necessary,  I  have,  I  must  say,  seen  the 
same  good  humour.  They  treat  their  defeat  as  one  of 
the  chances  of  war,  which  happen  to  the  most  brave  and 


John  Quincy  Adams. 

From  the  portrait  by  Jean  Baptiste  Adolphe  Gibert.      In  the  State 
Department,  Washington. 


i828j  MRS.    PORTER  249 

skilful,  as  well  as  the  weak  and  ignorant.  We  have  been 
asked  in  a  social  way  to  all  our  neighbors.  Mrs.  Clay, 
Mrs.  Southard,  Mrs.  Wirt,  Cutts,  Porter,  &c,  where  we 
met  the  same  folks  and  without  a  single  exception  all 
seemed  in  a  good  humour.  Mr.  Clay  seems  in  better 
health  and  spirits  than  he  has  been  for  many  months. 
Genl.  Porter  is  in  fine  spirits,  as  well  as  his  charming 
wife  and  seems  determined  to  keep  open  house  and  ex- 
tend his  hospitality  equally  to  both  parties.  We  were 
at  a  crowded  party  there  this  day  week,  asked  to  meet  a 
few  friends,  and  found  at  least  200.  This  morning  I 
have  received  another  invitation  for  this  evening, — when 
from  what  I  hear  there  may  be  five  hundred,  so  none  of 
us  wish  to  go.  Last  week  we  had  invitations  to  4 
parties,  but  I  went  only  to  Mrs.  Porter's  and  this  week 
shall  confine  ourselves  to  Mrs.  Clay's  drawing  room  and 
company  one  evening  at  home.  Mrs.  Porter  will  be  very 
popular.  Frank,  gay  and  conversible,  she  is  cordial 
with  every  one,  and  pleases  every  one.  And  so  odd,  an 
absolute  original.  The  first  rainy  day  I  can  find  time 
I  mean  to  draw  her  portrait  and  record  some  of  her 
sayings  and  phrases,  to  add  to  my  collection  of  original 
pictures.  I  like  her  very  much,  but  shall  see  little  of  her, 
for  she  is  now  in  for  it,  up  to  the  very  ears  in  the  bustle 
and  business  of  company.  She  has  hardly  time  to  eat 
or  sleep  she  says.  I  went  out  one  morning  visiting  with 
her,  her  list  of  visits  to  be  returned,  already  amounted 
to  500  and  all  who  call  on  her,  she  is  obliged  to  invite 
to  her  parties.  As  Mr.  Cox 1  of  your  city,  who  preached 
for  us  said,  "Is  the  Lord  a  hard  master,  is  his  work 
drudgery.  No  I  tell  you,  his  yoke  is  easy  and  his  bur- 
den light.     It  is  the  world  that  is  a  master  and  let  you  do 

1  Probably  Samuel  Hanson  Cox,  a  Presbyterian  divine,  one  of  the  founders 
of  the  University  of  the  City  of  New  York. 


250  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

what  you  will,  slave  yourself  to  death,  give  health,  give 
fortune,  give  time  and  all  you  have  and  still  you  can 
never  please  him."  And  this  is  true,  Oh  hard  and  ex- 
citing world,  /  will  not  be  thy  slave. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,  January,  1829.] 

Wednesday  morning :  We  had  a  most  agreeable  even- 
ing without  the  aid  of  other  amusement  than  what 
the  intellect  afforded.  Conversation  never  flagged  a 
moment,  but  until  12  o'clock  was  sustained  with  such 
animation  that  every  one  expressed  surprise  on  discov- 
ering it  was  so  late.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Lovel,  Dr.  and 
Mrs.  Lindsay,  several  ladies  you  do  not  know,  Gen'l. 
Van  Rensalaer,  Mr.  Henry,  Mr.  Wood,  Mr.  Chase,  three 
literary  and  agreeable  single  men  and  a  number  of  mar- 
ried ones,  Mr.  Campbell,  accustomed  in  the  circle  of  his 
wife's  family,  to  gay  and  fashionable  society  (she  was 
the  sister  of  the  rich  Miss  Bowling  Sam  Bayard  courted) 
appears  quite  like  a  man  of  the  world  in  company, — his 
manners  polished  and  refined.  It  was  the  most  agree- 
able party  we  have  as  yet  had  at  home  and  just  such 
as  I  wish  to  have,  far  more  to  my  taste  than  the  other 
occasion  when  I  had  Mrs.  Clay  and  the  other  Secre- 
taries' families,  Mrs.  Johnson,  Cutts,  &c,  with  cards  and 
dancing.  We  all  enjoyed  ourselves,  the  young  folks 
clustered  around  the  center  table  and  played  Insertion, 
the  game  you  taught  me  and  which  I  so  called,  wrote 
rhymes,  etc.,  and  were  merry  without  being  silly — but 
someone  rings. 

Thursday:  A  happy  New  Year  to  my  beloved  sister 
and  each  individual  of  her  dear  family!  How  are  you 
this    morning?     Would    that    I    could   wrap   my   arms 


: 


i829]  THE    BUSTLING    CITY  251 

around  you  and  give  you  the  kiss  of  gratulation.  The 
girls  you  say  are  to  pass  this  gala  day  in  New  York 
and  Maria  with  so  many  young  people  around  her  will 
be  younger  than  usual.  I  picture  you  and  Mr.  Kirk- 
patrick  seated  at  this  moment  alone  and  quiet  by  a  big 
blazing  fire  in  your  comfortable  parlour — each  with  your 
books.  As  it  is  dark  and  cloudy  here  it  may  be  tempes- 
tuous with  you.  Our  city  is  as  alive  and  bustling  as 
New  York — There  are  few  persons  who  are  sitting 
quietly  at  home — everyone  is  thronging  to  the  Presi- 
dent's— to  the  last  Levee  of  Mr.  Adams  carriages  were 
rolling  incessantly  past.  I  am  seated  with  Julia  in  the 
front  parlour  by  a  good  fire  of  Lehigh  coal.  Mr.  Smith 
and  the  other  gentlemen  are  surrounding  a  wood  fire 
in  the  dining  room,  they  being  disinclined  to  see  com- 
pany who  may  call.  All  are  reading  except  myself  and 
my  book  is  by  me,  but  before  I  open  it  I  could  not 
resist  the  impulse  of  my  heart  to  write  to  you.  I  have 
again  read  your  last  letter  and  feel  interested  in  the 
account  you  give  of  your  society — The  only  public  char- 
ity of  whose  beneficial  influence  I  feel  no  doubt  is  the 
education  of  the  poor.  This  goes  to  the  root  of  the 
evil;  in  giving  instruction,  you  give  to  the  poor  the 
means  of  avoiding  poverty.  Most  other  public  charities, 
by  relieving  their  present  wants,  take  from  them  the 
most  powerful  incentive,  that  of  necessity,  to  provide 
for  the  future  by  their  own  exertions. — They  depend  on 
the  relief  benevolence  extends  to  them  and  do  little  for 
themselves.  I  shall  participate  in  the  pleasure  success 
will  afford  you  and  were  I  nearer  would  as  gladly  par- 
ticipate in  your  labours.  Mrs.  McClane  of  Delaware  has 
come.  I  passed  two  hours  with  her  and  then  had  fairly 
to  run  away,  for  she  talked  at  such  a  rate  it  was  difficult 
to  get  off.     "How  many  children  have  you  brought  with 


252  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

you,"  said  I — "Let  me  see — three  and  a  half — am  I  not 
venturesome  to  come  with  half  finished  work?"  She  is 
in  excellent  spirits — animated  and  political — her  hus- 
band has  staked  everything  on  his  political  measures, 
his  practice  injured,  his  popularity  in  his  own  state  gone1 
— Jackson's  election  affords  him  something  more  than 
mere  triumph.  I  have  no  doubt  he  builds  on  it  hope,  nay 
almost  certainty  of  office.  But  alas !  I  fear  disappoint- 
ment awaits  him,  as  well  as  many  other  supporters  of 
Jackson.  All  cannot  be  in  the  Cabinet — Those  who  are 
not  what  will  they  do  ?  Turn  against  him  ?  One  of  his 
warmest  partisans  speaking  about  Mr.  McClain  last  night 
said  he  must  remain  in  the  Senate.  They  will  not  spare 
him,  for  certainly  as  his  seat  was  vacated  an  administra- 
tion man  would  be  put  in — After  the  example  of  your 
state,  who  mean,  we  are  told,  to  turn  out  Gov'r.  D.  and 
put  in  Mr.  Southard.  The  aim  of  the  defeated  party 
certainly  is  to  get  a  majority  in  the  Senate  and  thereby 
to  control  the  President.  Tonight  Gen'l.  Eaton,  the 
bosom  friend  and  almost  adopted  son  of  Gen'l.  Jackson, 
is  to  be  married  to  a  lady  whose,  reputation,  her  previous 
connection  with  him  both  before  and  after  her  husband's 
death,  has  totally  destroyed.2  She  is  the  daughter  of 
O'Neal  who  kept  a  large  tavern  and  boarding  house 
whom  Littleton  knew.  She  has  never  been  admitted  into 
good  society,  is  very  handsome  and  of  not  an  inspiring 
character  and  violent  temper.  She  is,  it  is  said,  irresist- 
ible and  carries  whatever  point  she  sets  her  mind  on. 
The  General's  personal  and  political  friends  are  very 
much  disturbed  about  it;  his  enemies  laugh  and  divert 
themselves  with  the  idea  of  what  a  suitable  lady  in  wait- 
ing Mrs.  Eaton  will  make  to  Mrs.  Jackson  and  repeat  the 

1  Louis  McLane,  of  Delaware,  was  appointed  Minister  to  England,  1829, 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  1831,   and  Secretary  of  State,  1833. 
1  See  Mrs.  Smith's  letter  to  Mrs.  Boyd,  spring  of  1829,  infra. 


i899]       GENERAL    EATON'S    MARRIAGE         253 

old  adage,  "birds  of  a  feather  will  flock  together."  Dr. 
Simm  and  Col.  Bomford's  families  are  asked.  The 
ladies  declare  they  will  not  go  to  the  wedding,  and  if 
they  can  help  it  will  not  let  their  husbands  go.  We 
spent  the  evening  at  Dr.  Simm's  last  night.  All  present 
were  Jacksonians — Dr.  Simm  the  most  ardent  and  de- 
voted. He  had  lately  received  a  letter  from  Gen'l.  J. 
which  he  promised  to  show  me.  I  wanted  to  see  it 
immediately,  suspecting,  as  I  told  him,  if  he  deferred 
showing  it,  it  would  be  with  the  intention  of  correcting 
the  orthography.  He  laughed  and  joked  on  the  subject 
very  good  naturedly  and  about  Mrs.  J.1  and  her  pipe  in 
the  bargain.  What  a  change  will  take  place  in  our 
society — how  many  excellent  families  shall  we  lose.  I 
told  the  Doctor  I  should  cry  all  day  long  on  the  4th  of 
March,  for  my  politics  were  governed  by  my  heart  and 
not  my  head — To  dismiss  Mr.  Wirt!  Where  will  he 
get  such  another  man?  Oh,  how  sorry,  very  sorry  I 
should  be.  Our  intimacy  is  progressing  and  time  might 
transmute  it  into  friendship.  But  these  miserable  fetters 
will  deprive  me  of  this  hope.  For  eight  years  how  I  did 
love  to  go  to  the  President's  house  on  this  day.  The 
gracious  countenance  that  then  beamed  on  the  thronging 
multitude,  the  sweet  mild  voice,  the  cordial  pressure  of 
the  hand,  I  could  no  longer  meet  and  therefore  I  will  not 
go.  How  much  goodness  and  greatness  then  dwelt 
there — now  shrouded  in  the  cold  and  narrow  grave — the 
home  of  all  men.  Thither  we  are  hastening,  the  humble 
and  the  ambitious,  the  poor  and  rich,  the  vanquished 
and  the  triumphant.  How  trivial  and  inconsequent  are 
the  rivalships  and  conflicts  which  now  make  such  a  stir. 
A  few  years  and  the  eager,  animated  actors  on  the  pres- 
ent scene  shall  be  still  and  silent  and  forgotten — and  we 

1  It  was  well  known  that  Mrs.  Jackson  smoked  a  pipe. 


254  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

too,  my  sister, — for  my  part  I  look  not  for  a  return  of 
this  day.  I  feel  astonished  that  I  am  still  here,  but  now 
that  my  long  secretly  indulged  wish  of  having  my  girls 
fixed  in  the  city  is  fulfilled  I  am  ready — I  am  willing  to 
leave  them.  They  will  not  now  be  left  in  the  inactivity 
and  desolation  of  solitude.  I  enjoy  life,  but  I  have  had 
enough  of  it.  Were  it  not  for  the  constitutional  and 
merely  animal  gaiety  of  my  disposition  I  should  be  dread- 
fully weary  of  this  twice  told  tale.  But  these  spirits 
bouy  me  up  on  the  calm  surface  of  life's  sea  and  give  to 
my  exterior  an  appearance  of  enjoyment,  often  delusive. 
Serious  reflection  and  deep  feeling  float  not  on  the  sur- 
face. I  therefore  am  not  known  or  even  suspected.  At 
this  moment  how  little  would  a  visitor  who  should  enter 
and  with  whom  I  should  rattle  away  on  the  occurrences 
of  the  day,  how  little  would  my  own  children  who  sit 
around  me  imagine  the  subject  of  my  thoughts  and  feel- 
ings during  the  many  wakeful  hours  of  last  night — 
thoughts  and  feelings  which  still  occupy  mind  and  heart 
— Yes,  at  this  moment  I  would  rather  shut  myself  up  in 
my  own  room  and  weep  than  sit  in  the  parlour  and 
entertain  company — I  hear  someone  coming,  a  carriage 
stops. 

Friday. — A  right  down  snow  storm!  The  first  one 
we  have  had  this  season — it  was  very  complaisant  to  wait 
until  the  gaities  of  the  holidays  were  over.  Last  night 
the  incessant  rolling  of  carriages  sounded  like  continual 
peals  of  thunder  or  roaring  of  the  wind,  and  every  car- 
riage having  lights  the  appearance  was  very  singular. 
The  night  was  dark  and  the  lights  darting  and  flying 
about  in  every  direction  (for  nothing  but  the  lamps  was 
visible)  appeared  like  brilliant  meteors  in  the  air.  Mr. 
Smith  called  me  to  the  door  to  look  at  them.  The  pave- 
ment, indeed  street,  in  front  of  the  English  Minister's 


i829]  A   CALL   ON    MRS.    CLAY  255 

house1  was  light  as  noonday,  a  line  of  torches  being 
placed  along  the  pavement.  The  street  was  full  of  car- 
riages, about  400  it  is  said,  all  with  lights  and  in  motion. 
His  ball  was  given,  it  is  said,  to  the  President's  family 
and  was  more  brilliant  than  any  former.  We  kept  our 
resolution  and  would  not  go — neither  to  a  ball  in  George- 
town to  which  we  were  asked.  Sent.  Eaton's  wedding 
likewise  took  place  last  night,  so  that  the  streets  were  as 
light  and  as  full  as  in  the  morning.  This  is  a  long  New 
Year's  letter.  I  indulged  myself  in  scribbling  so  much 
because  the  gents  being  away  from  you  I  wished  as  far 
as  I  could  to  amuse  your  solitude  and  supply  their  place. 
On  reading  over  these  two  crowded  sheets  I  fear  they 
will  tire  you,  but  at  least  they  will  prove  how  much  I 
think  of  you.  Good  day,  dearest  sister — now  for  an 
uninterrupted   morning's   reading.     I    shall   enjoy   it. 

Yours  tenderly. 


TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

[Washington,  January,  1829] 
.  .  .  .  We  talked — my  goodness,  how  we  talked, 
so  fast  and  so  loud  we  could  scarcely  hear  each  other. 
"Tell  us  all  about  the  gay  world,"  said  Mrs.  Clifton. 
"We  poor  people  know  nothing  of  it  but  by  rumour." 
So  we  told  of  all  the  gay  and  great  folks  and  great 
parties,  and  marriages  and  deaths,  funerals  and  festivals, 
we  knew  anything  of,  while  we  sat  round  the  table  and 
drank  our  tea.  Scarcely  could  we  get  away  from  these 
attached  friends.  But  the  sun  had  set  and  we  had  other 
visits  to  pay.  On  our  way  back  we  stopped  to  see  an 
old  friend  Mr.  Ingham  and  his  lady,  who  arrived  a  few 

1  Charles  Richard  Vaughan  was  then  British  minister. 


256  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

days  ago — and  then  proceeded  to  Mrs.  Clay's,  where  I 
reproached  myself  for  not  being  oftener,  considering 
the  present  state  of  affairs.  We  were  conducted  up 
stairs,  the  door  of  the  little  drawing-room  opened.  All 
was  bright  with  splendid  furniture,  lamps  and  blazing 
fire,  but  no  smiling  faces  like  those  we  left  in  the  little 
kitchen  mingled  their  light  with  the  surrounding  objects. 
Mrs.  C.  was  mournfully  walking  the  room  and  as  we 
entered,  held  up  her  ringer,  to  impose  silence,  and  pointed 
to  the  sopha.  "He  sleeps/'  whispered  she.  I  felt  a  shock 
on  turning  my  eyes  as  she  spoke,  on  the  sopha  was 
stretched  at  full  length  Mr.  Clay  face  and  all,  completely 
cover'd  with  a  dark  cloak,  which  looked  like  a  black  pall. 
We  took  our  chairs,  without  speaking  and  sat  silent. 
Our  entrance  however  had  awakened  him  and  after  a 
minute  or  two,  he  slowly  rose  and  putting  the  cloak  aside 
reclined  in  one  corner  with  his  feet  stretched  along  the 
sopha.  I  had  not  seen  him  for  three  weeks  and  was 
shocked  at  the  alteration  in  his  looks.  He  was  much 
thinner,  very  pale,  his  eyes  sunk  in  his  head  and  his 
countenance  sad  and  melancholy — that  countenance 
generally  illumined  with  the  fire  of  genius  and  ani- 
mated by  some  ardent  feeling.  His  voice  was  feeble 
and  mournful.  I  cannot  describe  dear  Bayard  what 
melancholy  feelings  were  excited  in  my  breast.  But 
I  had  come  purposely  to  try  and  cheer  my  excellent 
friend  Mrs.  Clay,  who  I  knew  was  sick  and  sad,  so  I 
resisted  my  melancholy  tho'  I  could  not  help  continually 
contrasting  the  little  kitchen  and  its  inmates,  with  this 
present  scene.  There  gaiety  had  been  spontaneous,  here 
it  was  forced.  Still  I  was,  if  [torn  out],  at  least  cheerful 
and  said  everything  I  could  think  of  to  amuse  my  great 
friends,  with  far  less  success  however,  than  with  my 
poor  friends.     Gentlemen  came  in  and  enquiries  were 


x829]  SICK    MEMBERS    OF    THE    CABINET    257 

made  about  the  other  sick  members  of  the  Cabinet.  Mr. 
Rush,  who  has  been  alarmingly  ill,  for  a  week  past,  is 
not  it  is  fear'd  yet  out  of  danger.  The  first  symptoms  of 
disease  were  altogether  in  the  head.  Mr.  Southard,  tho' 
just  out  of  his  room,  after  three  weeks  confinement,  is 
appointd  acting  Secretary  of  the  treasury.  He  is  so 
feeble  that  I  fear  this  added  labour  will  produce  a  re- 
lapse. Mr.  Clay  has  not  been  out  for  a  week  and  is 
scarcely  able  to  sit  up.  Last  week  Mr.  Wirt  had  two 
attacks,  to  which  they  gave  no  name,  a  vertigo,  followed 
by  a  loss  of  sense  or  motion.  One  attack,  he  remained 
three  hours,  insensible,  the  gentlemen  all  agreed,  the  only 
chance  he  had  for  prolonged  life  was  his  relinquishing 
his  practice.  During  a  week  or  more,  Genl.  Porter,  was 
almost  blind  from  inflamation  of  the  eyes  and  went  to 
his  office  with  two  blisters  on,  one  behind  each  ear.  Mr. 
Adams  always  appear^  in  fine  spirits,  but  it  is  said,  is  so 
feeble  as  to  be  obliged  to  relinquish  his  long  walks  and 
to  substitute  rides  on  horseback — this,  I  give  from  hear- 
say, for  I  have  not  seen  him.  How  strange  it  is,  that 
every  individual  of  the  administration,  should  be  ill.  I 
really  feel  very  anxious  about  Mr.  Rush  and  Mr.  Clay. 
You,  from  your  connection  with  his  sons,  will  feel  most 
for  Mr.  R.  and  I  need  not  caution  you  not  to  mention 
what  I  have  said,  lest  you  alarm  them,  as  it  is  probable 
they  are  not  informed  of  the  worst  symptoms.  You 
will  know,  sooner  than  I  shall,  the  result  of  election  of 
Senator.  From  the  last  news,  I  fear  Judge  Southard 
will  lose  his  election  and  Mr.  Ewing  be  chosen.1  I  shall 
be  sorry.  I  hoped  we  should  keep  this  amiable  family. 
The  thought  of  losing  so  many  old  and  agreeable  ac- 
quaintances, not  to  say  friends,  makes  me  feel  sad, — 

1  Theodore  Frelinghuysen  was  elected.  On  his  retirement  from  the  Navy 
Department  in  1829  Judge  Southard  became  Attorney  General  of  New 
Jersey. 


258  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

the  time  is  rapidly  approaching.  Mrs.  Clay's  next  draw- 
ing-room, closes  this  social  scene,  intercourse  between 
these  families  and  general  society.  She  says,  she  shall 
not  go  out  any  more  and  immediately  after  next  Wed- 
nesday, begin  to  pack  up  and  make  preparations  for 
going  home.  The  President,  in  the  course  of  ten  days 
or  two  weeks  is  going  to  leave  the  President's  House 
and  remove  to  Commodore  Porter's  House,  which  he 
has  rented.  What  a  change,  what  a  change  will  there 
be  in  our  city.  On  no  former  occasion  has  there  been 
anything  like  it. 

Saturday  morning.  Susan  and  I,  accompanied  by 
Mrs.  Barnet  went  last  evening  to  Mrs.  Lovel's,  where 
we  met  a  much  larger  company  than  we  expected,  but 
very  agreeable.  It  is  a  right  down  snow  storm  to-day. 
After  closing  this  letter  I  shall  write  a  long  one  to  your 
aunt  Boyd.  You  know  I  love  to  write  on  a  stormy  day. 
If  the  weather  does  not  prevent  I  expect  a  small  chess 
party  to  meet  here  this  evening.  Do  you  not  wish  you 
were  with  us.  Good  morning  dear  Bayard.  Now  you 
have  answered  the  others  my  turn  comes  and  I  shall  look 
impatiently  for  a  letter. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  January  12,  1829.  Monday. 
.  .  .  .  Rank,  honors,  glory,  are  such  unsubstan- 
tial empty  things  that  they  can  never  satisfy  the  desires 
that  they  create.  You  would  not  wonder  at  these  re- 
flections, if  living  as  I  do  in  the  midst  of  a  defeated 
and  a  triumphant  party — in  the  midst  of  men  who  have 
expended  health  of  body  and  peace  of  mind,  a  large 
portion  of  their  lives,  who  have  watched  and  worked, 


i8a9]  EFFECT  OF  MRS.  JACKSON'S  DEATH    259 

toiled  and  struggled,  sacrificed  friends  and  fortune,  and 
domestic  comfort,  and  gained  what?  Nothing,  that  I 
can  perceive,  but  mortification  and  disappointment,  the 
best  part  of  their  lives  passed  in  pursuit  of  that  which 
in  possession  was  embittered  and  vexatious,  and  in  the 
loss  leaves  nothing  behind.  Every  one  of  the  public  men 
who  will  retire  from  office  on  the  fourth  of  March  will 
return  to  private  life  with  blasted  hopes,  injured  health, 
impaired  or  ruined  fortunes,  embitterd  tempers  and 
probably  a  total  inability  to  enjoy  the  remnant  of  their 
lives.  Poor  Judge  Southard  has  been  very  ill,  is  still 
confined  to  his  room  and  looks  wretchedly.  Mr.  Rush 
totally  secludes  himself;  nobody  sees  him.  Mr.  Clay 
still  keeps  on  the  mask  of  smiles.  Genl.  Porter  less 
hackneyed  and  worn  out  worried  or  weakened  looks  and 
I  suppose  feels  the  best  of  all,  but  even  he,  hospitably  as 
he  lives  and  universally  as  he  entertains,  must  injure  his 
private  property.  Yet  with  these  examples  before  their 
eyes,  others  eagerly  seek  for  the  same  places,  indulging 
the  same  high  hopes,  which  will  be  followed  by  like  dis- 
appointments and  vexations.  Such  are  the  irresistible 
allurements  of  ambition!  But  oh  what  a  gloom  is  cast 
over  the  triumph  of  Genl.  Jackson,  by  the  death  of  a 
wife  fondly  and  excessively  loved!  of  a  wife  who  it  is 
said,  could  control  the  violence  of  his  temper,  sooth  the 
exacerbations  of  feelings  always  keenly  sensitive  and  ex- 
cessively irritable,  who  heal'd  by  her  kindness  wounds  in- 
flicted by  his  violence,  and  by  her  universal  charity  and 
benevolence  conciliated  public  opinion.  It  is  said  that 
she  not  only  made  him  a  happier,  but  a  better  man.  I 
fear  not  only  the  domestic  circle,  but  the  public  will  suffer 
from  this  restraining  and  benign  influence  being  with- 
drawn. Affliction  generally  softens,  but  sometimes  it 
sours  the  human  heart, — should  it  have  the  latter  effect 


260  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

the  public  councils  and  affairs  will  have  reason  to  de- 
plore this  awful  and  sudden  event.  She  died  the  day 
before  the  one  on  which  the  festival  of  triumph  was  to 
take  place  at  Nashville, — feasting  was  turned  into  mourn- 
ing, the  festival  into  a  funeral,  the  cannons  and  drums 
that  were  to  proclaim  the  victory  of  political  party 
sounded  only  to  proclaim  the  victory  of  death.  To  die 
was  the  common  lot,  but  to  die  in  such  peculiar  circum- 
stances and  at  such  a  moment  is  an  event  rare  as  it  is 
solemn  and  carries  with  it  such  a  deep  conviction  of  the 
impotency  of  honor  and  grandeur  and  power  that  the 
impression  can  not  be  easily  effaced  from  a  reflecting 
mind.  On  mine  it  has  made  a  deep  and  I  hope  a  salutary 
one.  .  .  .  Strange  that  a  single  woman,  possessed 
of  goodness  tho'  destitute  of  talents,  could  thus  influence 
the  destiny  of  nations!  A  similar  case  will  occur  to 
your  mind  perhaps  in  recollecting  the  history  of  Greece. 
It  was  Themistocles  (I  believe)  who  said,  My  little  son 
governs  his  mother,  his  mother  governs  me, — I  govern 
Athens,  Athens  governs  Greece,  Greece  governs  the 
world.  So  my  boy  governs  the  world.  .  .  .  One 
morning  Mrs.  McClain  of  Delaware,  who  you  know  is  a 
great  favorite  of  mine,  Mrs.  Clay,  Mrs.  Cutts  and  Mrs. 
Holly  sat  a  long  time  with  me.  Mrs.  McC.  is  so  enter- 
taining and  agreeable  that  time  literally  flies,  when  I  am 
with  her.  She  and  Mrs.  Porter  are  extremely  alike  in 
character, — gay,  frank  and  intelligent.  But  Mrs.  P.  has 
a  warmer  heart  and  no  one  can  know  without  loving  her. 
I  have  seen  a  great  deal  of  her  lately  and  propose  passing 
this  evening  with  her.  Every  other  Monday  (which  I 
call  her  great  Monday)  she  sends  out  hundreds  of  invi- 
tations, has  the  band  of  musick  and  opens  four  rooms. 
The  intervening,  (or  as  I  call  it,  her  little  Monday)  she 
sees  any  friends  who  choose  to  go,  but  without  particular 


i829]  PARTY    AT    MRS.    DICKENS  261 

invitations.  We  have  been  invited  to  all,  but  have  de- 
clined going  on  the  Great  Mondays.  I  promise  myself 
much  pleasure  this  evening. 

Last  week  we  were  asked  for  the  2'd  time  to  Mrs. 
Dickens1  and  as  she  said  it  was  a  small  social  party  I 
and  Susan  went,  but  half,  if  not  all  Congress  and  their 
wives  were  there  and  the  people  almost  a  solid  mass, — 
it  was  with  difficulty,  I  secured  a  comfortable  seat  in  a 
corner  of  the  room  for  Susan  and  myself.  For  the  be- 
ginning of  the  evening  we  knew  not  a  creature  in  the 
room, — they  being  the  strangers  and  visitors  in  the  city. 
About  9  o'clock  Mr.  and  Mrs.  McClain  entered ;  she  spied 
me,  and  as  glad  of  a  comfortable  seat  as  myself,  a  vacant 
chair  next  me.  We  laughed  and  talked  so  merrily  as 
to  attract  Mrs.  Porter,  who  with  difficulty  broke  away 
from  the  crowd  of  gentlemen  that  surrounded  her  and 
came  to  us.  She  made  Susan  get  up  and  give  her  her 
chair,  much  to  poor  Sue's  regret  who  (a  most  terrible 
thing  to  her)  had  to  stand.  With  the  Secretary  and 
Senator's  ladies,  our  corner  became  the  most  attractive 
spot  in  the  room,  next  to  the  Pianno,  where  the  Miss 
Fultons  (from  New  York)  were  playing  and  singing  in 
high  style — Italian  in  perfection.  Madam  Garcia  over 
again.  But  charming  as  the  musick  was,  it  could  not 
interrupt  our  conversation.  Several  gentlemen  gathered 
round  the  great  ladies  and  the  rest  of  the  evening  I  passed 
very  pleasantly.  I  knew  not  who  gave  most  delight 
Mrs.  P.  or  Mrs.  McC.  I  should  call  them  both  Rattles 
if  they  were  not  something  so  much  better, — they  are 
charming  women.  Mrs.  P.  had  asked  me  to  find  her  a 
poor  girl,  who  would  be  willing  to  go  to  New  York  with 
her  as  a  servant.  Last  week  I  was  called  to  visit  a 
family,  in  the  extremity  of  want  and  sickness, — 6  chil- 
1  Wife  of  Asbury  Dickens. 


262  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

dren,  4  of  whom  were  girls.  Their  necessities  were  so 
far  beyond  my  ability  to  relieve,  that  it  occurred  to  me 
to  recommend  one  of  the  girls  to  Mrs.  P.  and  to  make 
known  to  her  the  situation  of  the  family.  It  was  dark 
when  I  went  and  bitterly  cold.  Mrs.  P.  was  going  in 
the  evening  to  Baron  Krudener's1  Ball,  but  the  moment 
I  described  the  condition  of  this  family,  she  called  her 
servant,  had  bread,  candles,  &c  put  up,  tied  a  hankerchief 
over  her  head,  put  on  an  old  plaid  cloak,  jumped  into 
our  carriage  and  went  with  me  to  see  them.  The  next 
day  when  I  went  to  see  them,  I  found  on  her  return 
home  she  had  sent  them  a  blanket,  meat,  meal,  and  other 
articles.  Who  that  looked  at  her  that  evening,  gaily 
dressed,  charmed  and  charming,  flattered  and  carressed, 
would  have  imagined  her  as  she  had  been  an  hour  be- 
fore, wrapped  in  an  old  cloak,  seated  by  the  bed-side  of 
a  dying  woman  in  a  cold,  miserable  room,  surrounded 
by  half  naked  and  starved  children?  But  could  they 
have  witnessed  the  contrast,  how  would  delight  and 
admiration  have  been  converted  into  love  and  esteem,  or 
rather  the  one  added  to  the  other.  Can  you  wonder  at 
my  loving  this  woman?  Truly,  I  would  rather  General 
Jackson  should  not  come,  than  that  such  a  woman  should 
go  away.  There  is  no  one  in  the  city  so  popular.  The 
New  York  papers  have  celebrated  her  and  say  she  throws 
Mrs.  Clay  completely  in  the  shade. 

FROM  MADAME  PICHON2 

Paris,  January  26,  1829. 

My  Dear  Friend: 

Since  I  received  your  last  letter,  together  with  the 
charming  work  which  you  sent  me  and  which  I  read  with 

1  Russian  Minister  1827  to  1836. 

2  Translation  from  the  French. 


i8a9]  MADAME    PICHON'S    FAMILY  263 

great  pleasure,  two  events  have  happened  in  my  family 
in  which  your  mother's  heart  will  take  part.  My  daugh- 
ter, after  long  suffering,  was  successfully  delivered  of  a 
pretty  daughter  who  promises  to  be  large  and  strong. 
She  suffered  at  first  in  nursing,  but  as  she  embraces  our 
principles,  she  took  courage  and  suffering  yielded  to 
maternal  perseverance.  Her  little  one  who  is  2  months 
old  is  beginning  to  know  her  mother  and  even  her  father, 
who  quits  his  scientific  labors  to  come  and  rock  his 
daughter  when  he  hears  her  cry.  It  is  a  great  happiness 
for  me  to  be  a  grandmother  and  to  see  my  mother  still 
able  to  come  to  my  daughter's  house  and  dance  my 
daughter's  daughter  on  her  lap.  However,  this  happi- 
ness is  mingled  with  a  very  keen  sorrow,  for  Theodore, 
who  will  soon  be  24  years  old,  is  endowed  with  agreeable 
physical  features,  has  a  fine  pronunciation,  and  has  done 
some  remarkable  work  at  studying,  was  going  through 
his  last  year  preparatory  to  becoming  a  lawyer,  and  had 
already  pleaded  with  some  success,  but  he  did  not  like 
this  occupation,  which  is  so  independent  and  which  I 
should  so  much  have  desired  that  he  would  pursue.  His 
father  often  expressed  regret  before  him  that  he  had 
ceased  being  employed  by  the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Af- 
fairs, where  he  might  have  secured  a  position  for  him. 
Having  been  born  at  sea,  hearing  constantly  of  traveling, 
being  surrounded  by  men  of  learning  who  had  made  some 
interesting  voyages,  and  having  himself  passed  three 
years  in  Germany  in  a  very  agreeable  and  brilliant  man- 
ner during  his  childhood,  poor  Theodore  opened  his  eyes 
and  tormented  his  father  to  assert  his  former  rights  in 
that  Ministry  in  his  favor.  Well,  Pichon  was  recently 
charged  with  a  negotiation  with  the  Republic  of  Hayti 
with  Mr.  Esmanyart.  Their  two  sons  have  been  ap- 
pointed secretaries  of  the  commission.     Good  bye  plead- 


264  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  LJan. 

ing  and  the  lawyer's  robe,  for  he  no  longer  thinks  of  any- 
thing but  the  embroidered  coat  of  secretary  of  legation. 
The  commissioners  are  not  going  away  any  more,  for  the 
negotiations  are  being  attended  to  in  Paris,  but  my  Theo- 
dore has  persuaded  his  father  to  ask  the  Count  de  la 
Feronais,  who  is  very  kind  to  my  husband,  to  have  him 
appointed  pupil  vice  consul  in  Haiti.  He  has  gone,  he  has 
left  father,  mother,  brother,  sister,  and  his  little  niece  who 
already  smiled  at  him.  He  has  gone,  seeing  happiness 
in  a  foreign  land  where  I  lost  my  brother-in-law  of  yellow 
fever.  He  takes  the  place  of  the  son  of  a  lady  whom  I 
knew  well  during  my  childhood,  and  who  just  perished 
also  of  that  terrible  disease.  He  embarked  after  arrival 
at  Brest  without  having  time  to  write  to  us  except  a 
word  to  my  mother,  whom  he  will  probably  never  see 
again.  There  he  is  in  the  midst  of  the  dangers  of  the 
sea,  and  the  climate,  the  child  whom  God  had  given  me 
to  take  the  place  of  Louis!  The  same  fate  perhaps 
awaits  him.  Oh,  my  friend,  do  you  feel  all  I  suffer  ?  I 
have  not  the  courage  to  go  into  society.  I  dread  those 
satisfied  countenances  which  will  greet  me  and  congratu- 
late me  on  the  fine  career  of  my  son,  on  the  great  success 
he  will  achieve,  and  all  those  commonplaces — nonsensical 
ideas  of  people  who  do  not  understand  real  happiness. 
I  thought  I  had  prepared  things  for  my  old  age;  I 
thought  I  had  inspired  in  my  children,  by  dint  of  care  and 
tenderness,  enough  affection  for  me  to  create  in  them 
a  leaning  toward  some  profession  which  would  enable 
them  to  live  honorably  near  us.  Well,  Theodore,  if  I 
keep  him,  will  go  from  one  consulate  to  another,  and 
when  he  comes  to  Europe  I  shall  think  that  I  am  near 
him.  He  will  probably  marry  a  woman  that  I  do  not 
know,  and  his  children  will  be  strangers  to  me!  Is 
that  where  my  dreams  of  happiness  and  the  cares  which 


i8a9]  MADAME    PICHON'S    FAMILY  265 

I  bestowed  on  him  as  a  child  were  to  lead  me  ?  In  order 
to  part  with  him  as  late  as  possible,  I  had  been  his  first 
Latin  teacher.  His  father  had  put  him  into  a  college 
near  to  our  house.  We  saw  him  very  often,  and  yet 
when,  after  his  vacation,  he  had  to  return  there  and 
leave  the  paternal  roof  after  we  had  passed  6  weeks  to- 
gether, what  tears  we  shed  together !  Yet  he  is  leaving 
us  now  perhaps  forever,  and  his  young  brother,  who  had 
fever  three  days  owing  to  his  grief  at  his  departure,  and 
who  also  seemed  to  love  us  so  tenderly,  is  thinking  of 
nothing  but  studying  to  enter  the  Military  School  of 
St.  Cyr !  How  mothers  who  have  sons  are  to  be  pitied ! 
A  gentleman  was  saying  the  other  day  that  those  who 
had  only  sons  were  like  hens  that  had  hatched  nothing 
but  ducklings.  It  is  a  true  image :  The  poor  hen  resting 
on  the  shore  while  her  offspring  find  pleasure  in  an  ele- 
ment which  makes  her  tremble  for  them.  I  am  very 
happy,  at  least,  that  my  Henrietta  has  inherited  my 
tastes,  perhaps  even  in  an  exaggerated  degree.  She 
likes  nothing  but  domestic  life.  She  has  married  a  man 
of  intellect,  who  enjoys  great  celebrity  in  sciences  and 
who  loves  me  as  his  own  mother.  She  will  bring  her 
daughter  up  well,  and  out  of  four  children  I  shall  have 
that  one,  and  she  will  have  procured  a  son  for  me,  while 
those  whom  I  nursed  are  leaving  me!  I  hope  very  fer- 
vently that  Theodore  will  go  to  the  United  States  some 
day.  He  will  see  you  and  that  will  be  a  consolation  for 
me.  He  might  have  gone  to  New  York  with  Mr.  Dan- 
nery,  but  the  consulate  general  of  San  Domingo  is  a 
legation,  there  is  no  minister,  and  Theodore  having  been 
secretary  of  the  commission,  is  acquainted  with  the  nego- 
tiations and  is  almost  secretary  of  legation,  which  is  more 
interesting  for  a  mind  like  his,  for  political  affairs  have 
more  interest  than  the  purely  commercial  ones  of  the 


266  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

consulate.  May  God  protect  him  and  preserve  him  from 
sickness,  and  he  may  be  happy,  for  he  is  sacrificing  every- 
thing for  a  brilliant  future.  He  has  some  great  advan- 
tages. He  knows  three  living  languages — English,  Ger- 
man, and  Spanish;  he  has  ideas  enough  about  science 
to  derive  agreeable  pastime  from  them,  and  by  working 
he  ought  to  become  a  very  distinguished  consul.  As 
for  myself,  I  must  learn  to  be  happy  to  have  a  son  whose 
name  will  be  in  the  gazette,  and  I  must  not  think  of  the 
fact,  when  I  receive  a  satisfactory  letter  two  months  after 
it  was  dated,  that  two  months  have  passed  since  it  was 
written !  I  am  falling  into  old  age  with  all  the  anguishes 
of  my  youth.  Alas !  I  will  support  them  with  courage, 
believing  them  to  be  a  sacrifice  necessary  to  my  future 
happiness.  Where  is  that  happiness  so  dearly  bought? 
My  poor  husband  is  exhibiting  fortitude,  but  tenderness 
is  getting  the  better  of  his  fatherly  pride  and  he  is  suffer- 
ing keenly  at  this  departure.  However,  political  events 
and  the  world  distract  him.  I,  on  the  other  hand,  am 
constantly  brooding  over  my  grief,  and  see  nothing  but 
my  son,  ill  and  deprived  of  my  care !  But,  my  friend,  I 
wished  to  speak  to  you  of  the  pleasure  I  derived  from 
your  pretty  story  about  "What  is  real  gentility."  It  is 
charming.  It  is  a  very  faithful  depiction  of  the  char- 
acter of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Madison.  It  seemed  to  me  that 
I  saw  her.  The  visit  of  Mrs.  Madison  to  the  good 
mother  who  falls  and  breaks  her  pipe  is  a  picture  made 
from  nature.  And  I  have  made  the  acquaintance  here 
of  a  young  American  lady  who  is  so  great  a  woman  of 
fashion  that  I  believe  she  prides  herself  on  imitating  the 
fickle  and  unrepublican  character  which  you  so  wittily 
depict.  Your  country  worries  me ;  it  is  becoming  spoiled  ; 
there  you  have  a  military  President;  it  is  an  attack 
against  your  liberty !     You  are  spreading  out ;  the  taste 


i829]  AMERICA    IN    DANGER  267 

of  high  society  and  rank  is  being  formed;  take  care! 
Titles  and  nobility  are  at  your  doors.  You  were  getting 
on  so  well  without  the  aristocracy  necessary  to  the  old 
world !  As  to  us,  we  are  gaining  more  than  you  are  los- 
ing, and  we  have  more  freedom  than  I  ever  saw  in 
France.  I  do  not  speak  of  the  time  when  Bonaparte  had 
given  us  a  mute  legislative  chamber,  spies  everywhere, 
and  imprisonment  for  talking  in  our  own  houses,  with- 
out our  friends'  knowing  we  were  there,  not  to  speak  of 
the  evils  of  war.  The  parties  are  beginning  to  merge 
together,  and  if  a  few  ambitious  persons  are  discontent, 
we  must  hope  that  they  will  not  succeed  in  depriving  us 
of  the  peace  and  liberty  which  we  are  now  finally  en- 
joying. 

It  is  late  and  I  will  leave  you,  asking  you  to  embrace 
the  opportunity  offered  by  Mr.  Dannery's  stay  in  New 
York  to  let  me  hear  from  you  as  well  as  from  Mr.  Smith 
and  all  your  family.  We  occasionally  see  Mr.  Boyd. 
He  wanted  me  to  help  him  choose  some  books  for  his 
young  children,  but  the  preparations  for  the  departure  of 
Theodore  have  thus  far  deprived  me  of  this  pleasure, 
though  I  have  not  given  it  up. 

Accept,  dear  lady,  the  assurance  of  my  sincere  affection 
and  the  respects  of  my  husband,  and  remember  me  to  Mr. 
Smith  and  our  common  friends.  Yours  truly, 

A.  Emilie  Pichon. 

TO  /.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

[Washington]  Friday  Jan.  30.     [1829.] 
.     .     .     .     I  was  interrupted  by  the  entrance  of  com- 
pany, and  if  the  truth  were  known,  I  dare  to  say,  you 
are  glad  I  was  broken  in  upon  a  subject  more  serious  than 
pleasant.    Well,  I  will  resume  my  letter,  but  not  my  sub- 


268  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

ject,  but  continue  my  journal  from  my  letter  of  last  week. 
I  then  told  you  we  were  going  to  have  a  small  party,  a 
small,  but  very  select  and  agreeable  one  it  was.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Calhoun,  she  as  friendly  and  social,  he  as  charm- 
ing and  interesting,  as  ever  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Gilmer,  (our 
Crawford  friends)  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rives,  both  talented 
and  superior  folks,  Phillip  Barbour,  of  whose  eloquence 
and  coloquial  talents  you  have  heard  your  father  and  me 
talk.  Col.  and  Mrs.  Bomford,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Lovel,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Seaton,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Simm,1  Genl.  Porter  and 
the  ever  admired  and  charming  Mrs.  P.  with  Miss 
Moris,  Caroline  Breckenridge  and  about  a  dozen  more, 
Senators  and  Members.  Conversation  flowed  without  in- 
terruption, every  one  was  gay  and  animated.  Some 
played  chess,  some  sat  by  the  table  and  talked,  but  most 
conversed  in  groups.  Every  one  did  as  they  pleased. 
For  a  wonder,  in  a  Washington  party,  they  could  sit,  as 
well  as  stand.  There  were  above  40  in  the  room,  yet  it 
was  not  the  least  crowded  and  I  received  many  compli- 
ments on  the  greater  rationality,  as  well  as  pleasure 
of  such  a  small  select  party,  than  the  usual  squeezes  and 
crowds.  I  enjoyed  myself  more  than  on  any  previous 
evening  this  winter.  I  conversed  by  turns  with  all  my 
guests,  but  longest  with  the  two  I  most  admired,  Mr. 
Barbour  and  Mr.  Calhoun.  The  limits  of  a  letter  will 
not  allow  all,  otherwise  I  should  like  to  detail  what  was 
said  by  these  gentlemen.  Mr.  Barbour  conversed  about 
Mr.  Jefferson  and  the  University  of  Virginia  and  gave  me 
some  interesting  information,  Mr.  Calhoun  about  the  late 
election  and  the  characters  of  some  of  the  leaders  on  both 
sides.  I  really  ought  to  commit  observations  such  as  his 
to  paper,  but  I  can  not  find  time.    When  Mrs.  Porter  and 

1  Dr.  Thomas  Sim,  who  after  the  death  of  his  first  wife  became  engaged 
to  Mrs.  Smith's  sister-in-law,  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Medical 
Society  of  the  District  of  Columbia  and  its  second  president. 


i8a9]     MRS.  PORTER'S    SPRIGHTLINESS       269 

her  large  party  entered,  she  as  usual  created  quite  a  sen- 
sation. All  crowded  round  her.  She  had  a  nod  for 
one,  a  smile  for  another  and  good  humour  and  gaiety 
for  all.  While  with  Mr.  Calhoun  and  afterwards  with 
others  she  carried  on  a  sprightly  conversation,  to  which 
all  around  listened  with  delight.  Every  gentleman  then 
in  the  room  was  a  Jacksonian,  some  violent,  but  she  ral- 
lied them  so  charmingly,  that  had  they  been  enemies  they 
must  have  become  friends.  ''Oh,"  said  she,  in  reply  to 
some  remark  on  her  going  to  every  party,  "I  have  not 
long  to  stay,  so  I  am  determined  to  see  and  enjoy  all  I 
can.  If  my  time  is  short,  it  shall  be  sweet,  as  the  proverb 
says,  short  and  sweet.  But  no  matter/'  added  she  nod- 
ding her  head  significantly, — "If  we  must  go  now,  we 
will  be  back  in  4  years,  so  take  it  yourselves."  The  gen- 
tlemen laughed  and  said  they  would  not  relinquish  so 
soon  as  that.  "We'll  see,  we'll  see,"  said  she  nodding 
good  humourd'ly.  "At  least  we  will  both  do  our  best, 
one  to  keep  in,  the  other  to  come  in"  or  something  to 
that  effect.  "What  a  pity  it  is,"  observed  Mr.  Calhoun 
to  me,  "that  all  the  ladies  can  not  carry  it  off  (their  de- 
feat) as  charmingly  as  Mrs.  Porter,  but  some  I  hear 
take  it  much  to  heart."  "The  gentlemen  more  than  the 
ladies,"  said  I.  "All  the  Secretaries  are  sick.  One  day 
last  week,  with  the  exception  of  Genl.  P.  all  were  con- 
fined to  their  beds."  "After  all,"  said  Mr.  C,  "these 
things  are,  as  it  were,  the  mere  charity  of  war  and  tri- 
umph of  defeat,  change  sides  and  every  one  takes  his 
turn,  so  that  one  ought  not  to  feel  great  elevation  or 
great  depression,  but  in  either  case  take  the  result  with 
moderation,  but  above  all,  as  far  as  possible,  to  avoid 
mingling  personal,  with  political  feelings.  There  is 
nothing  from  which  I  have  really  suffered  in  the  late 
conflict  of  parties,  but  the  division  it  has  created  between 


270  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

me  and  personal  friends ;  as  for  the  enmity  and  abuse  of 
political  opponents,  that  is  nothing, — wounds  which  leave 
no  scars." 

But  I  must  check  my  pen,  the  detail  of  conversations 
is  endless.  It  was  near  twelve  when  the  company  dis- 
persed. We  had  several  invitations  which  we  declined, 
that  to  Miss  Williams  wedding,  one.  This  party  was 
not  only  a  crowd,  but  a  crush;  some  folks  were  nearly 
hurt.  It  is  supposed  a  thousand  invitations  were  given 
and  actually  above  700  accepted  and  the  house  not  large. 
On  Saturday  evening  the  bride  saw  company.  We  had 
two  other  invitations  for  that  evening,  to  a  musical  party 
at  Mrs.  Wirt's  and  a  chess  party  at  Mrs.  Burnels,  besides 
which  Anna  Maria  was  asked  to  a  cottillion  party  at  Miss 
Sutherland's  and  a  party  to  the  theatre  with  Mrs.  Seaton. 
She  preferred  the  last  and  went  to  Mrs.  Seaton's  where 
she  staid  until  Monday  morning,  happy,  as  she  always  is, 
with  these  friends.  Your  father,  yes  your  father,  went 
with  Susan  and  myself  to  see  the  Bride,  and  well  worth 
was  she  to  be  seen.  Beauty  itself.  I  could  do  nothing 
but  look  at  her,  nor  Mr.  Vaughn  (the  english  minister) 
either.  He  seemed  as  if  he  could  eat  her  up  and  if 
eyes  could  have  eaten,  he  would  have  devoured  her. 
Persico,  the  Italian  Sculpter,  has  begged  permission  of 
her  father  to  take  her  bust,  which  he  says  is  faultless, 
perfectly  classical.  Her  next  sister  is  as  pleasing,  al- 
most as  beautiful,  tho'  not  so  classically  or  symetrically 
proportioned.  The  groom  is  a  handsome  and  pleasing 
young  man.  I  conversed  a  good  deal  with  him.  If 
such  a  thing  as  perfect  felicity  ever  is  found  on  earth, 
surely  this  lovely  young  couple  possess  it.  So  young, 
so  beautiful,  so  virtuous  and  so  loving  and  beloved, — 
their  first  love,  and  that  approved  by  parents  and  friends 
and  crowned  with  affluence.     What  is  wanting?     May 


i829]       MRS.  ADAMS'S  DRAWING-ROOM        271 

this  rare  example  of  riuman  felicity  long  remain  unim- 
paired. An  agreeable,  but  not  large  company  was  as- 
sembled, and  we  remained  until  3  o'clock.  Then,  after 
leaving  Susan  at  home  and  taking  up  Julia,  we  went  to 
Mr.  Barnels,  where  we  found  all  the  company  engaged 
at  chess.  They  soon  found  partners  for  your  father 
and  myself.  Mr.  Bailey,  member  of  Congress  and  fa- 
mous chess  player,  for  your  father,  and  Mr.  Barnel  and  I. 
Those  who  did  not  play  conversed  together,  and  even 
we  chess  folks,  with  the  exception  of  Mr.  Bailey  and 
your  father,  took  the  liberty  to  laugh  and  talk  a  little. 
I  came  off  victor  in  two  games,  and  had  it  not  been  for 
the  entree  of  oysters,  your  father  thinks  he  would  have 
gained  one  game  of  Mr.  B.  But  oysters,  ham,  wine, 
porter,  &c  sadly  distract  one's  attention  you  know.  We 
played  until  1 1  o'clock  and  I  could  have  gladly  played  an 
hour  or  two  longer,  but  yielded  to  propriety.     .     .     . 


TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

[Washington]  Thursday,  5  Febr.  1829. 
.  .  .  .  After  tea,  about  8  oclock,  we  went.  Un- 
less you  had  seen  it,  you  can  have  no  idea  of  the  crowd. 
I  should  say  more  than  a  1000  people.  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Clay  were  not  well,  but  supported  this  trying  ordeal  ad- 
mirably— for  trying  it  was — to  be  cheerful  when  the 
heart  was  aching  and  the  health  impaired,  and  to  smile  on 
defeat;  tho'  surrounded  by  the  victors,  yet  all  this  they 
did.  I  could  scarcely  help  crying  and  to  avoid  so  awk- 
ward a  delemma,  laughed  a  great  deal.  Oh,  the  world, 
the  world,  what  a  masquerade  it  is.  The  drama  of  the 
Adams  administration  is  now  closed,  the  curtain  dropt, 
it  has  been  a  kind  of  tragic-comedy,  as  indeed  the  whole 


272  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

of  life  is.  I  do  not  suppose  any  of  the  members  will  be 
seen  any  more  in  the  social  circle.  As  soon  as  possible 
after  the  4th  of  March,  they  will  take  their  departure. 
There  was  a  rumour  in  the  drawing-room  that  Mr.  Wirt 
was  again  ill  and  had  just  had  another  severe  attack. 
Dr.  Hunt  who  came  from  his  house,  said  he  had  been 
with  him  for  three  hours.  Mr.  Wirt  is  rather  better.  I 
shall  call  at  both  places  this  morning. 

Anna,  went  with  Julia  and  me  last  evening.  She  was 
highly  delighted  with  the  scene  and  enjoyed  it  exces- 
sively. Julia,  looked  very  well  and  both  the  girls  had 
more  attention  paid  them  than  usual  and  of  course  could 
not  fail  being  gratified.  We  did  not  get  home  until 
after  1 1  oclock.  Col.  and  Mrs.  Ward  came  with  us  and 
as  we  were  a  little  hungry  or  so,  we  had  pickled  oysters, 
cold  beef,  &c  &c  and  laughed  and  talked  until  12  oclock. 
Mr.  Ward  has  been  here  this  morning  to  enquire  after 
our  healths. 

In  a  day  or  two  Genl.  Jackson  will  arrive — he  declines 
all  parade  and  instead  of  the  grand  display  that  was  ex- 
pected, I  suppose  he  will  make  a  quiet  entree  which  I 
shall  be  glad  of  on  account  of  our  old  friends.  The  car- 
riage is  ready  for  me  to  go  out — so  good  morning. 

Wednesday  morning.  It  is  a  week  today  since  I  be- 
gan this  letter,  and  not  one  half  hour  have  I  had  to 
finish  it.  Engagements  of  various  kinds  at  home  and 
abroad,  occupy  every  moment,  leaving  me  no  time  to  read 
even  a  novel.  One  evening  I  passed  most  pleasantly  at 
Mrs.  Clay's  in  company  with  Mrs.  Porter,  her  brother 
Mr.  Brekenridge1  and  his  wife  and  a  few  others.  I 
am  delighted  with  Mr.  B.  and  conversed  a  great  deal  with 
him — the  next  morning  he  and  Mr.  Danforth,  another 

1  Probably  John  Breckenridge,  Chaplain  of  Congress  in  1822-3  and  after- 
wards pastor  of  the  2d  Presbyterian  Church  of  Baltimore. 


i829]        ARRIVAL   OF   GENL.   JACKSON  273 

clergyman  and  Dr.  Collins  were  with  us  a  long  while. 
One  whole  morning  Mr.  Campbell  spent  with  us  and 
every  morning  and  every  evening  Mr.  Ward  has  been 
here.  He  is  almost  an  inmate  of  our  family — who  it  is  he 
is  pleased  with  it  is  impossible  to  tell,  his  attentions  are  so 
equally  divided.  I  do  not  think  therefore  that  love  is  the 
attraction.  He  brings  us  new  books  very  often  and  is  in 
every  way  agreeable.  I  shall  quite  miss  him  when  he 
goes,  the  4th  of  March. 

We  were  preparing  to  go  to  the  House  to  see  the 
votes  counted  for  President,  but  the  weather  is  unfavour- 
able. General  Jackson  has  arrived.  Preperations  were 
made  and  crowds  would  have  gone  to  meet  him,  but  he 
eluded  them  all,  and  came  in  early  this  morning — 4  hours 
before  the  expected  time.  Your  father  just  stepped  in  to 
tell  us,  to  prevent  our  going  among  others  to  see  the 
parade.  But  now  I  hear  cannons  firing,  drums  beating 
and  hurraing — I  really  cannot  write,  so  adieu  for  the 
present. 

Monday  16  Feb.  I  might  as  well  have  finished  my 
letter  as  gone  down  on  the  avenue  with  the  girls.  Noth- 
ing but  boys — everything  has  been  so  quiet,  that  if  one 
did  not  hear  of  the  fact,  no  one  would  know  Genl.  J  had 
arrived.  It  has  made  no  change  whatever  even  in  the 
hopes  and  fears  of  the  expectants  and  the  fearers — both 
tremblingly  alive  to  what  may  happen — his  most  intimate 
friends,  the  very  persons  who  are  candidates  for  office, 
do  not  yet  know  who  are  to  form  his  cabinet — meanwhile 
parties  have  stopped,  the  old  administration  have  closed 
their  houses  and  no  others  yet  open.  A  universal  dull- 
ness pervades  society — or  rather  gloom — at  least  among 
those  with  whom  I  most  associate.  Judge  Southard  has 
had  another  and  more  dreadful  attack.  I  saw  him  on 
Saturday — he  looks  to  me  as  if  he  had  not  long  to  live. 


274  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

Genl.  Porter,  has  likewise  been  very  ill  and  kept  his 
room  most  part  of  last  week  and  is  not  yet  out.  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Clay  will  not  visit,  and  see  only  a  few  friends. 
We,  viz,  our  family,  are  however  as  gay  as  usual  and 
constantly  engaged  in  little  social  parties  at  home  or 
abroad. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington,]  Friday  6th  Febr.  1829. 
.  .  .  .  I  do  not  believe  we  have  been  a  single  day 
alone  since  we  came  to  the  city.  We  literally  live  in 
society  and  that  of  a  very  agreeable  kind.  We  have 
greatly  enlarged  our  acquaintance  among  the  members 
of  Congress  and  several  begin  to  visit  in  a  social  way. 
Since  I  last  wrote  we  have  had  several  agreeable  parties 
at  home — the  largest  about  40  persons,  was  made  in  com- 
pliment to  our  old  friends,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Calhoun.  By 
accident  most  of  the  company  were  of  Mr.  C.'s  politics, 
altho'  an  equal  number  of  administration  folks  had  been 
asked.  Mrs.  Porter  and  her  family  came,  but  really  they 
mingle  so  frankly  and  sociably  with  the  Jacksonians, 
that  their  opposing  sentiments  are  often  forgotten.  She 
is  the  most  popular  woman  we  have  ever  had  here  since 
Mrs.  Madison.  Gay,  frank,  communicative,  kind.  She 
is  a  universal  favourite  and  it  seems  like  no  party  at  all, 
if  she  is  not  present,  and  when  she  is,  she  is  so  sur- 
rounded, notwithstanding  which  she  makes  out  to  notice 
every  body  and  to  make  every  body  feel  as  if  they  were 
particularly  noticed.  A  nod,  a  smile,  and  shaking  of 
the  hand,  answer  the  purpose,  for  the  smile  or  nod  of  a 
Secretary's  lady  have  a  wonderful  charm.  Noah,1  in  his 
paper,  has  puffed  her  at  a  great  rate,  on  several  occasions 

1  Mordecai  Manuel  Noah  in  the  National  Advertiser. 


i8a9]  MRS.    PORTER'S    KINDNESS  275 

I  am  told.  But  what  is  better  than  all  this,  she  is  truly 
kind-hearted  and  charitable,  without  any  ostentation 
whatever.  A  family  of  8  persons  whom  I  made  known 
to  her,  because  I  was  unable  to  give  them  the  relief  they 
required,  she  has  now  entirely  supported  for  the  last 
month  or  six  weeks.  One  of  the  children,  by  her  orders, 
daily  carries  a  basket  to  her  kitchen  which  is  regularly 
filled.  Her  good  nature  equals  her  benevolence.  The 
last  large  party  she  had,  she  bade  the  two  girls  bring  their 
basket  at  9  oclock  in  the  evening,  and  told  them  they 
might  stay  in  the  back  room  (where  the  refreshments 
were  prepared),  see  the  ladies  as  they  went  and  came 
thro'  the  hall  and  gather  up  the  fragments  of  the  cake, 
blanc-mange,  jelly,  etc.  The  poor  mother  when  she  told 
me  of  this  the  next  day  seemed  absolutely  far  more  grate- 
ful and  delighted  than  by  the  more  substantial  donations 
she  had  received. 

Three  days  have  elapsed  since  I  commenced  this  letter. 
Every  day  I  have  sat  down  to  it,  but  not  been  able  to 
write  more  than  a  few  lines  without  being  interrupted. 
Yesterday,  the  moment  I  had  swallowed  my  breakfast,  I 
came  into  this  parlour  and  as  usual  left  the  girls  in  the 
dining-room,  seized  my  pen,  determined  to  have  a  long 
talk,  about  many  things  with  my  own  dear  sisters.  Be- 
fore the  above  page  was  written,  Mr.  Leon,  Anna's  ex- 
cellent and  amiable  french-master  came  to  pay  me  a  visit 
and  soon  after  my  good  neighbor  Mrs.  Andrew  Smith, 
an  hour  afterwards  Mr.  Ward,  a  young  Bostonian,  a 
great  favorite  with  us  all,  who  has  absolutely  domes- 
ticated himself  in  our  family.  Then  Mrs.  McClean  of 
Delaware, — kindly,  charming  and  interesting.  Each  and 
all  staid  most  of  the  morning,  and  before  they  went  my 
friend  Lydia  English,  who  staid  all  day  and  night  and  is 
still  with  us,  and  in  the  evening  some  gentlemen.     Not  a 


276  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

single  minute  from  ten  oclock  in  the  morning,  until  n 
oclock  at  night,  had  I  leisure  to  read  or  write,  and  this 
is  the  history  of  every  day,  with  the  variation  of  different 

persons 

I  have  tried  and  other  friends  have  tried,  to  procure  a 
clerkship  for  him.1  Mrs.  Porter  did  her  very  best  and 
I  used  all  manner  of  persuasion  and  argument  with  the 
kind,  good  natured  secty  of  War. — "My  dear  Madam, 
what  am  I  to  do?  When  we  ask  Congress  for  more 
clerks  in  the  Dept  and  tell  them  the  present  number  is 
insufficient  for  the  duties  of  the  offices,  the  reply  is,  If 
you  continue  to  fill  the  offices  with  old  men,  no  number 
will  be  sufficient.  Get  young  men  and  fewer  will  answer 
and  the  work  be  better  done.  This  is  too  true,  the  pub- 
lic benefit  is  sacrificed  to  private  interest  and  charity. 
The  Departments  are  literally  over-stocked  with  old,  in- 
efficient clerks.  I  cannot  serve  your  friend,  consistently 
with  duty." 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington]  Febr  16,  1829. 
.  .  .  .  I  have  been  a  great  deal  in  Mr.  Clay's  and 
Southard's  family,  both  ill, — so  ill,  I  do  not  think  either 
has  long  to  live.  Yet,  they  think  not  so,  and  attend  to 
business,  tho'  they  decline  all  company  at  home  and  never 
go  out.  I  never  liked  Mr.  Clay  so  well  as  I  do  this 
winter,  the  coldness  and  hauteur  of  his  manner  has  van- 
ished and  a  softness  and  tenderness  and  sadness  char- 
acterize his  manner  (to  me  at  least),  for  I  know  not  how 
it  is  in  general  society — that  is  extremely  attaching  and 
affecting, — at  the  same  time,  perfect  good  humour,  no 
bitterness  mingles  its  gall  in  the  cup  of  disappointment 

1  A  Mr.  Andrew  Smith,  who  had  failed  in  business  and  whose  wife  was  a 
friend  of  Mrs.  Smith's. 


i829]  TROUBLES    OF    THE    CLAYS  277 

and  I  often  hear  him,  when  only  two  or  three  friends  are 
present,  speak  of  Genl.  Jackson  and  the  present  state  of 
affairs  in  a  good  humour'd  sprightly  way.  He  has  a 
cause  of  domestic  affliction  in  the  conduct  and  situation 
of  his  son1  a  thousand  times  more  affecting  than  disap- 
pointed ambition.  We  all  went  to  the  last  drawing 
room, — we  did  it  to  show  our  respect.  My  heart  was 
heavy,  very  heavy,  that  word  Last!  Immense  crowds 
filled  the  room,  crowds  of  the  triumphant  party.  I  could 
not  bear  it  as  well  as  Mrs.  Clay.  I  staid  close  to  her, 
knowing  she  was  so  sick  she  could  scarcely  stand  and 
that  both  she  and  Mr.  C.  for  three  previous  weeks  had 
been  made  very  wretched  by  their  domestic  grief, — in- 
deed for  two  weeks  Mr.  C.  had  not  been  able  to  sleep 
without  anodynes.  I  stood  behind  her  and  watched  the 
company.  She  received  all  with  smiling  politeness  and 
Mr.  C.  looked  gay  and  was  so  courteous  and  gracious, 
and  agreeable,  that  every  one  remarked  it  and  remarked 
he  was  determined  we  should  regret  him.  My  heart 
filled  to  overflowing,  as  I  watched  this  acting,  and  to 
conceal  tears  which  I  could  not  repress,  took  a  seat  in  a 
corner  by  the  fire,  behind  a  solid  mass  of  people.  Mr.  C. 
saw  me,  and  coming  up  enquired  if  Mr.  Smith  had  come. 
I  answered  in  the  negative.  "But  you  are,"  said  he 
taking  my  hand  and  looking  sadly  affectionate.  "This  is 
kind,  very  kind  in  you,  Mrs.  Smith."  I  returned  the 
pressure  of  his  hand,  and  without  reflection  said,  "If 
you  could  see  my  heart,  you  would  then  think  so." 
"Why  what  ails  your  heart?"  said  he,  with  a  look  of 
earnest  interrogatory.  "Can  it  be  otherwise  than  sad," 
I  answered,  looking  at  Mrs.  Clay,  "when  I  think  what  a 
good  friend  I  am  about  to  lose  ?"  For  a  moment  he  held 
my  hand  pressed  in  his  without  speaking,  his  eyes  filled 
1  His  eldest  son  was  insane  and  confined  in  an  asylum. 


278  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

with  tears  and  with  an  effort  he  said,  "We  must  not 
think  of  this,  or  talk  of  such  things  now,"  and  relinquish- 
ing my  hand,  drew  out  his  handkerchief,  turned  away 
his  head  and  wiped  his  eyes,  then  pushed  into  the  crowd 
and  talked  and  smiled,  as  if  his  heart  was  light  and  easy. 
Alas,  I  knew,  what  perhaps  no  other  among  these  hun- 
dreds knew,  that  anguish,  heart-rending  anguish,  was 
concealed  beneath  that  smiling,  cheerful  countenance,  and 
that  the  animation  and  spirits  which  charmed  an  admir- 
ing circle  were  wholly  artificial.  Judge  Southard  has  all 
manner  of  disappointments  to  sustain,  as  well  as  repeated 
severe  attacks  of  disease  and  pain.  He  had  until  within 
a  week  of  the  election,  every  reason  to  believe  he  would 
be  chosen  Senator,  but  his  friends  betrayed  him,  and  one 
friend,  old,  tried  and  who  was  under  great  obligations. 
Oh,  ingratitude  is  sharper  than  a  serpent's  teeth.  He 
had  just  recovered  a  little  strength,  when  owing  to  Mr. 
Rush's  extreme  illness,  he  was  appointed  Seer,  of  the 
Treasury  pro  tern. ;  scarcely  able  to  discharge  his  own 
business,  the  addition  was  too  much  for  him,  and  a  few 
nights  ago,  sitting  late  and  hard  at  work,  he  was  seized 
with  what  his  Physician  called  spasms  in  his  stomach,- — 
for  six  hours  he  suffered  agony,  which  even  opium  could 
not  allay,  until  taken  in  great  quantities.  Yesterday, 
when  I  saw  him,  he  was  sitting  up  surrounded  with 
papers,  his  eyes  sunk  to  the  very  back  of  his  head,  the 
sockets  black  and  hollow,  while  the  eye  burnt  with  un- 
natural brightness.  "Oh  do  not  kill  yourself,"  said  I, 
as  I  held  his  burning  hand,  "put  away  those  papers. 
You  are  too  ill  to  attend  to  business."  "I  must,"  re- 
plied he,  "if  I  die  at  my  post,"  and  there  I  verily  believe 
he  will  die, — he  looks  awfully.  He  had  his  heart  set  on 
the  exploring  voyage  and  had  the  preparations  for  it  in 
such  forwardness,  that  he  thought  it  impossible  Congress 


18*9]  MRS.    PORTER'S    PARTIES  279 

would  prevent  it,  by  refusing  the  necessary  appropria- 
tion. But  it  is  said,  they  will.  Hard  things  are  said  of 
him  on  the  floor,  motives  attributed,  which  I  do  not  be- 
lieve ever  actuated  him.  Oh  how  I  pity  these  public  men, 
and  as  I  look  at  Mr.  Clay  particularly,  how  often  have 
I  repeated  the  apostrophe  of  Cardinal  Wolsey,  "Oh  had 
I  served  my  God,  half  so  devotedly  as  I  have  served  my 
King,  I  should  not  now  in  my  old  age,  thus  have  been 
left,"  etc.  Mr.  Rush  and  afterwards  Mrs.  Rush  have 
been  very  ill,  and  are  exceedingly  depressed, — they  have 
not  gone  out,  or  received  company  this  winter.  Mr. 
Wirt,  too,  has  been  ill,  but  is  now  better.  .  .  .  Phil- 
lip Barbour  was  here  the  day  after  the  General's  arrival 
and  warm  Jacksonian  as  he  is,  I  told  him  his  success 
would  cost  me  too  much  grief,  to  allow  me  to  participate 
in  the  gratulations  of  the  political  party  to  which  my 
husband  belonged.  "I  shall  cry  more  than  I  shall  laugh 
on  the  4th  of  March,"  said  I.  Mrs.  Porter  is  the  only 
one  of  the  administration  party,  who  has  been  in  spirits 
this  winter.  It  is  partly  constitutional  with  her  and,  I 
suspect,  part  policy.  It  is  impossible  when  one  sees  her 
so  attentive  and  even  cordial  with  the  Jackson  party  not 
to  suspect,  she  has  some  hopes  of  propitiating  them.  Yet 
it  may  be  genuine  good  humour  and  good  spirits.  She  is 
a  charming  woman,  and  what  is  still  better,  she  is  a  good 
woman.  I  have  seen  a  great  deal  of  her,  indeed,  we  are 
on  the  terms  of  old  friends  and  relatives.  We  have  been 
asked  at  least  once  every  week  to  a  party  there,  last 
week  to  two, — one  a  gay  company,  the  other  serious, 
religious  folks  to  meet  her  Brother  Mr.  Breckenridge. 
Oh  what  a  zealous,  saint-like  man  he  is!  he  is  indeed 
a  burning  and  shining  light  but  he  is  burning  fast 
away,  flesh  and  blood  can  not  sustain  such  exhaust- 
ing and  consuming  labours.     How  I  wish  I  could  sit 


28o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

under  his  ministry.  How  cold  and  lifeless  our  Pastor 
seems,  compared  to  him.  Speaking  of  Mr.  Campbell, 
among  other  things,  all  however  kind  and  Christian,  he 
made  use  of  those  expressive  words,  "I  wish  he  was 
more  steeped  in  the  spirit."  I  had  some  delightful  com- 
munion with  this  apostolic  man.  Surely  he  is  in  all 
things  like  the  beloved  disciple,  so  full  of  love.  Such  a 
christian  would  I  desire  to  be,  and  until  I  am,  until  this 
divine  love  takes  full  possession  of  my  soul,  I  shall  never 
be  as  happy,  as  I  feel  I  have  the  capacity  of  being.  It  is 
good  to  see  the  world,  as, I  see  it.  Oh  Maria,  its  splendid 
out  side,  its  gaiety  and  glitter,  amuse  but  do  not  deceive 
me.  How  can  they,  with  such  striking  proofs  before  me, 
of  the  bitterness  and  heartlessness  within.  And  yet  I  am 
amused,  and  very  much  interested  in  the  characters  and 
scenes  around  me,  but  it  is  the  interest  and  amusement 
one  finds  at  the  theatre.  I  look  upon  life  as  a  stage,  and 
on  men  and  women  as  mere  actors.  One  drama  is  just 
finished,  the  curtain  has  dropped,  the  actors  have  left  the 
stage  and  I  have  followed  them  behind  the  scenes,  where 
their  masks  and  dresses  are  thrown  off  and  I  see  them  as 
they  are,  disappointed,  exhausted,  worn  out,  retiring 
with  broken  fortunes  and  broken  constitutions  and  hearts 
rankling  with  barbed  arrows. 

Another  drama  is  preparing.  New  characters,  in  all 
the  freshness  and  vigour  of  unexhausted  strength,  with 
the  exhileration  of  hopes  undaunted  by  fear,  of  spirits 
intoxicated  with  success,  with  the  aspirations  of  towering 
ambition  are  coming  on  the  self-same  stage.  Will  public 
favour  cheer  their  closing,  as  it  inspires  the  opening 
scene?  Time  must  show,  but  most  probably,  they  in 
their  turn  will  drink  the  cup  of  honor  to  the  bottom  and 
find  its  dregs  nauseous  and  bitter.  I  hoped  this  cold 
morning  to  have  been  alone,  but  one  set  of  ladies  have 


i829]  ARRIVAL   OF   JACKSON  281 

just  gone  and  here  stops  another  carriage.     I  wish  I 
could  be  alone  one  morning. 


TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

[Washington]  Wednesday  25th  February,  1829. 
With  what  anxiety  and  impatience  have  thousands 
looked  forward  to  the  present  period,  and  crowded  from 
all  parts  of  the  union,  to  our  metropolis  to  witness  the 
splendour  of  Genl.  J.'s  reception  and  his  inauguration — 
Poor  souls — disappointment  has  awaited  them — The 
General  would  allow  no  parade — as  I  told  you  in  my 
last  he  entered  the  city  and  was  in  it,  many  hours  with- 
out its  being  known — and  his  being  here  has  made  no 
change  in  the  aspect  of  society  and  would  be  unknown, 
were  it  not  for  the  anxiety  and  curiosity  of  expectants 
and  aspirants  and  fear-ants  (a  new  word).  As  for 
gaiety — there  is  none — even  the  cotillion  parties  and  pub- 
lic assemblies,  theatres  and  concerts  fail  to  attract  citi- 
zens or  strangers.  I  never  witnessed  such  a  dullness, 
nay  gloom  as  that  which  pervades  society.  The  party, 
who  are  withdrawing  from  office,  sick  and  melancholy, 
will  not  mix  in  society  and  the  private  parties  given  are 
uninteresting  to  strangers,  because  there  are  no  Secre- 
taries or  public  characters  there — Genl.  Jackson  and  his 
family,  being  in  mourning,1  decline  all  company,  so  that 
a  Party  must  be  grave  and  sober,  to  be  a  la  mode.  The 
crowds  of  strangers  who  are  here,  having  no  drawing- 
rooms,  no  parties,  or  levees  to  atend,  surge  about  guess- 
ing for  news  and  spreading  every  rumour  as  it  rises 
and  every  day  gives  rise  to  new  rumours  about  the  Cab- 
inet.    Last  week  it  was   considered  certainly  fixed — 

xMrs.   Jackson    died    in    December,    1828,  just   before   he    left    for 
Washington. 


282  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

Van  Buren,  for  state  depart'n;  Ingham,  for  the  Treas- 
ury, Genl.  Eaton  for  the  War,  Gov'r  Branch  for  the 
Navy,  and  Mr.  Berrian,  attorney  Genl. — Astonishment 
and  disappointment  filled  the  minds  of  friends  and  foes 
— with  the  exception  of  Van  B the  cabinet  was  pro- 
nounced too  feeble  to  stand  and  every  one  said  such 
an  administration  must  soon  fall — Remonstrances  were 
made  by  the  Tennesee  delegation  in  a  body,  (so  it  is 
said)  against  Genl  E 's  appointment,  and  after  diffi- 
culty and  hesitation  the  General,  who  it  was  said,  firm  as 
a  rock,  was  never  known  to  change,  found  I  suppose, 
that  the  authority  of  a  President,  was  very  different 
from  that  of  a  military  chief  and  must  yield  to  council — 
A  change  was  then  said  to  be  made,  and  Judge  McClean, 
put  in  the  cabinet,  and  Genl.  Eaton  in  his  place  as  post- 
master— But  even  this,  it  is  said,  does  not  satisfy  public 
opinion  which  will  not  allow  of  Genl.  Eton  holding  a 
place  which  would  bring  his  wife  into  society — (for 
this  is  the  difficulty)  Every  one  acknowledges  Genl. 
Eaton's  talents  and  virtues — but  his  late  unfortunate 
connection  is  an  obstacle  to  his  receiving  a  place  of 
honour,  which  it  is  apprehended  even  Genl.  Jackson's 
firmness  cannot  resist — It  is  a  pity — Every  one  that 
knows  esteems,  and  many  love  him  for  his  benevolence 
and  amiability.  Oh,  woman,  woman! — The  rumour  of 
yesterday  was,  that  he  was  to  have  no  place  at  home, 
but  be  sent  abroad — so  it  was  added  (tho'  evidently  only 
for  the  joke  of  it)  that  he  was  to  be  minister  to  Hayti 
that  being  the  most  proper  Court  for  her  to  reside  in — 
I  repeat  these  are  rumours — The  Cabinet  mentioned 
first,  was  I  believe — official — No  one  doubted  it — the 
changes  I  mention  are  doubtful — Van  Buren,  it  is  gen- 
erally supposed,  will  not  serve  with  these  gentlemen — 
there  being  no  personal  respect  or  liking  between  them. 


i829]  THE    NEW    CABINET  283 

If  he  declines  it  will  be  difficult  to  find  another  equal  to 
the  place,  for  Tazewell  of  Virginia1  is  to  go  to  England — 
Everyone  thinks  there  is  great  confusion  and  difficulty, 
mortification  and  disappointment — at  the  Wigwam — as 
they  call  the  General's  lodgings.  Mr.  Woodbury,2  looks 
glum  as  well  as  several  other  disappointed  expectants. 
He  was  the  only  Eastern  man,  of  sufficient  consequence 
among  the  Jacksonians  and  he  has  not  a  place  in  the 
Cabinet — the  first  time  since  the  Constitution  was 
adopted  in  which  New  England  was  not  represented  in 
the  Cabinet.  Such  a  disregard  to  New  England  it  is 
supposed  will  alienate  many  of  the  Jacksonians  in  that 
quarter.  Our  friends  at  Kalacama  too  are  sadly  dis- 
appointed. Mr.  Baldwin  confidently  expected  to  be 
Attorney-General,  and  it  is  said  now  he  will  get  abso- 
lutely nothing.  Our  friend  Louis  McLean  of  Del.  is 
likewise  left  in  statu  quo — though  his  friends  had  not 
a  doubt  of  his  being  in  the  Cabinet — there  are  hundreds 
of  offices  thro,  the  Union,  vacant,  which  the  Senate  will 
not  fill,  viz — sanction  Mr.  Adams  nominations — but  de- 
fer filling  them  until  after  the  fourth  of  March — All 
the  subordinate  officers  of  government,  and  even  to  the 
clerks,  are  full  of  tremblings  and  anxiety — To  add  to 
this  general  gloom  we  have  had  horrible  weather,  snow- 
storm after  snow-storm — the  river  frozen  up,  and  the 
poor  suffering  the  extremity  of  cold  and  hunger — Some 
instances  of  death  from  want  of  fuel,  were  discovered, 
and  awakened  public  sympathy,  and  exertion — Mr. 
Gales  issued  orders  for  subscriptions  to  be  taken  up  for 
the  relief  of  the  poor,  and  appointed  three  persons  in 

1  Littleton  Waller  Tazewell  of  Norfolk  did  not  go  to  England,  but  re- 
mained Senator  from  Virginia  till  he  resigned  in  1833  "from  pure  disgust 
of  Federal  politics." 

2  Levi  Woodbury  of  New  Hampshire  was  then  Senator.  In  1831  he  be- 
came Secretary  of  the  Navy  and  in  1834  Secretary  of  the  Treasury. 


284  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

each  ward  to  receive  contributions  of  any  and  every 
kind — to  visit  all  the  dwellings  of  the  poor,  and  to  re- 
lieve their  sufferings — Congress  gave  50  cords  of  wood 
to  the  poor — The  Treasury  department,  not  having  a 
right  to  give,  sold  at  first  cost  (not  one  fifth  the  present 
price  of  wood)  50  cords. — The  War  department  ordered 
all  that  could  be  spared  to  be  given  on  the  same  terms — 
and  members  of  Congress,  officers  of  government, 
strangers,  and  citizens  have  I  am  told  very  liberally  sub- 
scribed to  the  relief  of  sufferings  induced  by  this  un- 
precedented severe  weather — Today  is  a  dismal  day — 
no  high  and  cutting  winds  make  you  sensible  of  the 
cold — but  a  silent,  still  freezing  is  going  on,  that  takes 
one  unawares  and  unprepared — It  is  raining — the  drops 
fall  slowly  and  sound  like  heavy  fall  of  shot,  as  if  they 
fell,  one  by  one,  and  they  rest  on  the  window  panes 
as  if  so  chilled  they  could  not  run  off — But  notwith- 
standing the  weather  your  father  has  gone  to  Captain 
Tirgy's  funeral1 — It  would  have  been  a  splendid  mili- 
tary one — but  I  take  it  for  granted  this  weather  must 
curtail  the  parade — This  puts  me  in  mind  of  an  annunci- 
ation in  the  paper — viz,  that  the  General  declines  any 
military  parade  on  the  4th  of  March,  and  means  to  walk 
to  the  Capitol,  to  take  the  oath  of  office — Our  streets  are 
now  deep  in  slush — snow,  mud,  mire ! — and  if  they  con- 
tinue so,  until  the  4th  of  March,  a  pretty  procession 
will  it  be  on  foot! — a  grand  sight — for  the  strangers  to 
behold,  who  have  flocked  here  from  the  East,  the  West, 
the  North  and  the  South — But  yet  I  like  the  General  for 
his  avoidance  of  all  parade — It  is  true  greatness,  which 
needs  not  the  aid  of  ornament  and  pomp — and  delicacy 
too — I  like  the  suppression  of  military  attendance — but 
really  think  the  good  old  gentleman  might  indulge  him- 
1  He  died  February  23. 


i829](  MR.    CLAY'S    POWER  285 

self  with  a  carriage — I  think  I  shall  like  him  vastly,  when 
I  know  him — I  have  heard  a  number  of  things  about  him 
which  indicate  a  kind,  warm,  feeling  and  affectionate 
heart. — I  hope  sincerely,  he  may  get  safely  over  the 
breakers  which  beset  his  entrance  into  port,  and  when 
in — God  grant  the  good  old  man  a  safe  anchorage  in  still 
waters.  .  .  .  We  have  had  a  pleasing  visit  from 
Mr.  Josiah  Quincy — an  old  and  valued  friend — which 
to  me  was  the  most  interesting  incident  of  the  week — 
Mrs.  Clay's  furniture  is  to  be  sold  this  week — the  fair  is 
to  be  this  week — Mr.  Danforth's  new  church  is  to  be 
dedicated  this  week,  and  the  Inauguration  is  to  be  next 
week — and  then  a  general  dispersion — Mrs.  Clay,  Mrs. 
Porter,  Mrs.  everbody  I  care  for  will  be  going — and 
such  dreadful  weather!   !   ! 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington,]  Spring  of  1829. 
.  .  .  .  Mr.  Clay,  has  this  winter,  been  such  an 
object  of  interest  to  me,  For  to  me  intellectual  power,  is 
more  facinating  and  interesting,  than  any  other  human 
endowment.  And  never  in  any  individual  have  I  met 
with  so  much,  as  in  him.  Yes,  he  has  a  natural,  power 
and  force  of  mind,  beyond  any  I  have  ever  witnessed. 
In  Mr.  Jefferson,  Madison,  Crawford,  and  other  great 
men  I  have  known,  much  of  their  intellectual  strength, 
was  derived  from  education  and  favoring  circumstances, 
a  combination  of  which  carried  them  forward  in  the 
career  of  greatness  and  raised  them  to  the  elevation 
they  attained.  Not  so  Mr.  Clay.  Whatever  he  is,  is  all 
his  own,  inherent  power,  bestowed  by  nature  and  not 
derivative  from  cultivation  or  fortune.  He  has  an  elas- 
ticity and  buoyancy  of  spirit,  that  no  pressure  of  exter- 


286  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1829 

nal  circumstances,  can  confine  or  keep  down.  Nay, 
occasional  depressions  seem  to  give  new  vigour  to  this 
elastic  power.  For  instance  his  late  defeat.  So  far 
from  disheartening,  it  has  been  positively  exhilorating 
in  its  effects.  He  began  to  weary  of  the  measures  pur- 
sued in  the  last  campaign,  it  closed,  to  be  sure,  in  his 
defeat,  but  its  termination  freed  him  from  weights  and 
shackles,  which  had  connections  or  duties,  and  like  the 
Lyon,  breaking  the  net,  in  which  he  had  been  entangled, 
he  shakes  from  him  all  petty  encumbrances  and  rises  in 
all  the  majesty  of  intellectual  power  and  invigorated 
resolution.  He  is  a  very  great  man.  I  have  seen  him, 
this  winter,  as  a  man,  not  a  politician  or  stateman,  but 
studied  him,  undisguised  from  any  of  the  trappings  of 
official  form  and  conventional  respect.  Certainly,  one 
of  the  most  interesting  days  I  have  ever  passed,  was 
last  Sunday.  He  and  Mrs.  Clay  passed  it  with  us.  We 
had  no  other  company  to  dinner,  and  I  am  certain  he 
enjoyed  being  thus  alone  with  a  family  he  had  known 
for  18  years,  and  feeling  the  triumph  of  personal  regard, 
over  the  respect  paid  to  office.  He  knew  that  for  the 
last  8  years  Mr.  Smith  had  been  his  political  opponent, 
and  felt  pleased  with  rinding  himself  treated  with  the 
cordiality  of  friendship,  in  such  circumstances.  Whether 
it  was  this,  or  any  other  cause,  I  know  not,  but  whatever 
the  cause  might  be,  the  effect  was  to  produce  an  openness, 
communicativeness,  an  affectionateness  and  warmth  and 
kindness  which  were  irresistibly  captivating.  We  lin- 
gered long  round  the  dinner  table.  He  and  Mr.  S. 
conversed  on  past  times  and  characters,  long  since  passed 
from  the  scene  of  action.  In  the  afternoon  and  evening, 
Genl.  McComb,  Mr.  Ward,  Mr.  Lyon  (another  domes- 
ticated beau)  and  several  other  gentlemen  came  in  and 
until  past  10  oclock  at  night  the  conversation  flowed  in 


i829]  JACKSON'S    ENEMIES    DELIGHTED      287 

an  unbroken  stream  and  if  committed  to  writing  would 
prove  interesting  to  those  yet  unborn,  for  the  topics  were 
national,  subjects  suited  for  history.  Mr.  Clay  was  the 
chief  speaker.  He  was  animated  by  his  heart  as  well 
as  genius.  Reclining  on  the  sopha,  from  which  he  occa- 
sionally in  the  warmth  of  argument,  would  rise  or  stretch 
out  his  arm,  his  attitude  as  well  as  countenance  would 
have  made  a  fine  picture.  But  enough  of  one  individual. 
I  will  only  add,  if  his  health  is  restored,  we  will  see  him 
more  efficiently  active  than  ever.  Elizabeth  says  you 
wish  for  a  description  of  the  Inauguration,  and  for  some 
account  of  the  new  Cabinet,1  of  the  President  and  his 
family.  On  these  topics  I  have  but  little  to  say.  Bayard 
will  transmit  to  Sister  Jane  and  she  to  you,  my  last  long 
letter  to  him,  containing  a  full  account  of  that  grand  spec- 
tacle, for  such  it  was,  without  the  aid  of  splendid  forms 
or  costumes.  Of  the  Cabinet,  I  can  only  say  the  Presi- 
dent's enemies  are  delighted  and  his  friends  grieved. 
It  is  supposed  wholly  inefficient,  and  even  Van  Buren, 
altho'  a  profound  politician  is  not  supposed  to  be  an  able 
statesman,  or  to  possess  qualifications  for  the  place  as- 
signed him.  Yet  on  him,  all  rests.  Mr.  Ingham,  is  the 
only  member  with  whom  we  are  personally  acquainted, 
— him  we  have  known  long  and  well.  He  is  a  good 
man,  of  unimpeachable  and  unbending  integrity.  But 
no  one  imagines  him  possessed  of  that  comprehensiveness 
and  grasp  of  mind,  requisite  for  the  duties  of  his  new 
office.  He  will  be  faithful,  this,  no  one  doubts.  Whether 
he  will  be  capable,  experience  only  can  show.  Of  the 
others,  we  know  absolutely  nothing,  the  people  know 
nothing,  and  of  course  can  feel  little  confidence.     As  for 

1  Martin  Van  Buren,  Secretary  of  State;  Samuel  D.  Ingham  of  Pennsyl- 
vania, Secretary  of  the  Treasury;  John  H.  Eaton  of  Tennessee,  Secretary 
of  War;  John  Branch  of  North  Carolina,  Secretary  of  the  Navy;  John  H. 
Berrien  of  Georgia,  Attorney  General. 


288  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1829 

the  new  Lady,1  Elizabeth  enquires  of  after  a  thousand 
rumours  and  much  tittle-tattle  and  gosip  and  prophesy- 
ings  and  apprehensions,  public  opinion  ever  just  and  im- 
partial, seems  to  have  triumphed  over  personal  feelings 
and  intrigues  and  finally  doomed  her  to  continue  in  her 
pristine  lowly  condition.  A  stand,  a  noble  stand,  I  may 
say,  since  it  is  a  stand  taken  against  power  and  favor- 
itism, has  been  made  by  the  ladies  of  Washington,  and 
not  even  the  President's  wishes,  in  favour  of  his  dearest, 
personal  friend,  can  influence  them  to  violate  the  respect 
due  to  virtue,  by  visiting  one,  who  has  left  her  strait  and 
narrow  path.  With  the  exception  of  two  or  three  timid 
and  rather  insignificant  personages,  who  trembled  for 
their  husband's  offices,  not  a  lady  has  visited  her,  and 
so  far  from  being  inducted  into  the  President's  house, 
she  is,  I  am  told  scarcely  noticed  by  the  females  of  his 
family.  On  the  Inauguration  day,  when  they  went  in 
company  with  the  Vice-President's  lady,  the  lady  of  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  and  those  of  two  distinguished 
Jacksonian  Senators,  Hayne  and  Livingston,2  this  New 
Lady  never  approached  the  party,  either  in  the  Senate 
chamber,  at  the  President's  house,  where  by  the  Presi- 
dent's express  request,  they  went  to  receive  the  com- 
pany, nor  at  night  at  the  Inaugural  Ball.  On  these 
three  public  occasions  she  was  left  alone,  and  kept  at  a 
respectful  distance  from  these  virtuous  and  distinguished 
women,  with  the  sole  exception  of  a  seat  at  the  supper- 
table,  where,  however,  notwithstanding  her  proximity, 

1The  famous  Peggy  O'Neil,  daughter  of  a  tavern  keeper  in  Washington, 
widow  of  a  paymaster  in  the  navy,  and  now  bride  of  the  Secretary  of  War, 
a  fine  appearing  woman,  whose  reputation  had  unfortunately  for  her  been 
made  in  Washington.  Van  Buren  was  the  only  man  who  stood  by  her. 
She  was  finally  driven  out  and  her  husband  left  the  Cabinet. 

2  Robert  Y.  Hayne  of  South  Carolina,  anything  but  a  Jacksonian  when 
the  nullification  issue  came  up,  and  Edward  Livingston,  then  a  Represen- 
tative from  Louisiana,  soon  to  be  a  Senator,  then  Secretary  of  State  and 
finally  minister  to  France. 


i8a9]        MRS.    SMITH    LIKES    JACKSON  289 

she  was  not  spoken  to  by  them.  These  are  facts  you 
may  rely  on,  not  rumours — facts,  greatly  to  the  honor  of 
our  sex.  When  you  see  Miss  Morris,  she  will  give  you 
details,  which  it  would  not  be  proper  to  commit  to  writing. 
She  and  I  have  become  very  social  and  intimate  and 
have  seen  each  other  often.  I  hope  she  will  call  on  you 
and  talk  over  Washington  affairs.  Dear  Mrs.  Porter, 
her  departure  cost  me  some  bitter  tears.  And  so  did 
good  Mrs.  Clay's.  Mrs.  Ingham  professes  a  desire  to 
be  very  social  with  me,  "the  oldest  friend,"  as  she  says 
her  husband  has  in  the  city,  but  a  friend  of  18  years  is 
a  thing  I  shall  never  make  now,  it  is  too  late  in  the  day. 
We  visited  the  President  and  his  family  a  few  days  since, 
in  the  big  house.  Mr.  Smith  introduced  us  and  asked 
for  the  General.  Our  names  were  sent  in  and  he  joined 
the  ladies  in  the  drawing-room.  I  shall  like  him  if  ever 
I  know  him,  I  am  sure, — so  simple,  frank,  friendly.  He 
looks  bowed  down  with  grief  as  well  as  age  and  that  idea 
excited  my  sympathy,  his  pew  in  church  is  behind  ours, 
his  manner  is  humble  and  reverent  and  most  attentive. 
Mrs.  Sanford1  and  I  interchanged  several  visits  and 
she  passed  an  evening  with  us,  but  she  did  not  interest 
me.  For  your  sake,  dear  Maria,  I  will  visit  Mrs.  Hamil- 
ton, tho'  I  have  resisted  many  inducements  to  make  new 
acquaintances.  I  have  too  many  already.  But  I  shall 
drop  most  of  them  when  I  return  into  the  country,  then 
I  shall  regain  my  freedom,  and  do  as  I  like.  The  last 
six  weeks  have  been  far  less  gay,  but  much  more  interest- 
ing than  the  first  part  of  the  season.  We  went  less 
out  and  had  less  company  at  home.  Mr.  W.'s  daily 
visits,  Mr.  Wood's  and  Mr.  Lyon's,  almost  as  frequent, 
and  the  new  books  they  brought  us,  fitted  up  our  even- 
ings far  more  pleasantly  than  common-place  visitants. 
1  Wife  of  Nathan  Sanford  of  Albany,  Senator  from  New  York. 


29o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

Mr.  Wood,  who  is  goodness  personified,  remains,  he  is 
our  fellow  citizen,  and  we  look  for  his  smiling  benevo- 
lent countenance,  daily  as  the  evening  returns.  Mrs. 
Thornton  has  been  very  ill  and  I  have  been  a  great 
deal  with  her.  Dear  Mrs.  Bradley  has  gone,  and  she 
went  rejoicing  to  a  better  world.  Capt.  Tingey  too. 
Our  first  kind  friend  and  acquaintance.  Mrs.  Clay  is 
as  much  lost  to  me  as  if  separated  by  death,  and  Mrs. 
Porter.  For  ten  days  I  was  taken  up  with  sick  and 
dying,  and  departing  friends.  The  last  two  weeks  have 
been  melancholy  weeks  to  me.  Judge  Southard  con- 
tinues too  ill  to  move,  his  little  daughter  is  ill  too,  their 
furniture  is  all  sold,  and  it  is  melancholy  to  visit  them, 
but  it  is  a  duty  I  often  perform.  Mr.  Wirt's  family  go 
in  a  few  weeks.  Mr.  Rush,  it  is  said,  is  to  be  sent  to 
England  by  the  Canal-company,  with  a  good  salary,  and 
the  family  are  in  good  spirits.  Mrs.  Calhoun  goes  home, 
not  to  return  again,  at  least  for  4  years.  Mrs.  Ingham 
will  not  be  back  until  autumn.  All  our  citizens  are 
trembling  for  fear  of  losing  offices.  Mrs.  Seaton  is  very 
ill.  Gales  and  Seaton,  I  fear  ruined.  In  fact  never 
did  I  witness  such  a  gloomy  time  in  Washington.  I 
hope  things  will  brighten.     My  paper  is  full. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK. 

[Washington]  March  nth,  Sunday  [1829.] 
.  .  .  .  Thursday  morning.  I  left  the  rest  of  this 
sheet  for  an  account  of  the  inauguration.  It  was  not  a 
thing  of  detail  of  a  succession  of  small  incidents.  No, 
it  was  one  grand  whole,  an  imposing  and  majestic  spec- 
tacle and  to  a  reflective  mind  one  of  moral  sublimity. 
Thousands  and  thousands  of  people,  without  distinction 
of  rank,  collected  in  an  immense  mass  round  the  Capitol, 


■i8a9]  JACKSON'S    INAUGURATION  291 

silent,  orderly  and  tranquil,  with  their  eyes  fixed  on  the 
front  of  that  edifice,  waiting  the  appearance  of  the 
President  in  the  portico.  The  door  from  the  Rotunda 
opens,  preceded  by  the  marshals,  surrounded  by  the 
Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  the  old  man  with  his  grey 
locks,  that  crown  of  glory,  advances,  bows  to  the  peo- 
ple, who  greet  him  with  a  shout  that  rends  the  air,  the 
Cannons,  from  the  heights  around,  from  Alexandria 
and  Fort  Warburton  proclaim  the  oath  he  has  taken  and 
all  the  hills  reverberate  the  sound.  It  was  grand, — it 
was  sublime !  An  almost  breathless  silence,  succeeded 
and  the  multitude  was  still, — listening  to  catch  the 
sound  of  his  voice,  tho'  it  was  so  low,  as  to  be  heard 
only  by  those  nearest  to  him.  After  reading  his  speech, 
the  oath  was  administered  to  him  by  the  Chief  Justice. 
The  Marshal  presented  the  Bible.  The  President  took 
it  from  his  hands,  pressed  his  lips  to  it,  laid  it  reverently 
down,  then  bowed  again  to  the  people — Yes,  to  the  peo- 
ple in  all  their  majesty.  And  had  the  spectacle  closed 
here,  even  Europeans  must  have  acknowledged  that  a 
free  people,  collected  in  their  might,  silent  and  tranquil, 
restrained  solely  by  a  moral  power,  without  a  shadow 
around  of  military  force,  was  majesty,  rising  to  sub- 
limity, and  far  surpassing  the  majesty  of  Kings  and 
Princes,  surrounded  with  armies  and  glittering  in  gold. 
But  I  will  not  anticipate,  but  will  give  you  an  account  of 
the  inauguration  in  mere  detail.  The  whole  of  the  pre- 
ceding day,  immense  crowds  were  coming  into  the  city 
from  all  parts,  lodgings  could  not  be  obtained,  and  the 
newcomers  had  to  go  to  George  Town,  which  soon  over- 
flowed and  others  had  to  go  to  Alexandria.  I  was  told 
the  Avenue  and  adjoining  streets  were  so  crowded  on 
Tuesday  afternoon  that  it  was  difficult  to  pass. 

A  national  salute  was  fired  early  in  the  morning,  and 


292  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

ushered  in  the  4th  of  March.  By  ten  oclock  the  Avenue 
was  crowded  with  carriages  of  every  description,  from 
the  splendid  Barronet  and  coach,  down  to  waggons  and 
carts,  rilled  with  women  and  children,  some  in  finery  and 
some  in  rags,  for  it  was  the  peoples  President,  and  all 
would  see  him ;  the  men  all  walked.  Julia,  Anna  Maria 
and  I,  (the  other  girls  would  not  adventure)  accompanied 
by  Mr.  Wood,  set  off  before  11,  and  followed  the  living 
stream  that  was  pouring  along  to  the  Capitol.  The 
terraces,  the  Balconies,  the  Porticos,  seemed  as  we 
approached  already  filled.  We  rode  round  the  whole 
square,  taking  a  view  of  the  animated  scene.  Then 
leaving  the  carriage  outside  the  palisades,  we  entered  the 
enclosed  grounds,  where  we  were  soon  joined  by  John 
Cranet  and  another  gentleman,  which  offered  each  of 
us  a  protector.  We  walked  round  the  terrace  several 
times,  every  turn  meeting  new  groups  of  ladies  and 
gentlemen  whom  we  knew.  All  with  smiling  faces.  The 
day  was  warm  and  delightful,  from  the  South  Terrace 
we  had  a  view  of  Pennsylvania  and  Louisiana  Avenues, 
crowded  with  people  hurrying  towards  the  Capitol.  It 
was  a  most  exhilirating  scene !  Most  of  the  ladies  pre- 
ferred being  inside  of  the  Capitol  and  the  eastern  portico, 
damp  and  cold  as  it  was,  had  been  filled  from  9  in  the 
morning  by  ladies  who  wished  to  be  near  the  General 
when  he  spoke.  Every  room  was  filled  and  the  win- 
dows crowded.  But  as  so  confined  a  situation  allowed 
no  general  view,  we  would  not  coop  ourselves  up,  and 
certainly  enjoyed  a  much  finer  view  of  the  spectacle, 
both  in  its  whole  and  in  its  details,  than  those  within  the 
walls.  We  stood  on  the  South  steps  of  the  terrace ;  when 
the  appointed  hour  came  saw  the  General  and  his  com- 
pany advancing  up  the  Avenue,  slow,  very  slow,  so  im- 
peded was  his  march  by  the  crowds  thronging  around 


i829]  CROWDS   AT   THE   INAUGURATION     293 

him.  Even  from  a  distance,  he  could  be  discerned  from 
those  who  accompanied  him,  for  he  only  was  uncovered, 
(the  Servant  in  presence  of  his  Sovereign,  the  People). 
The  south  side  of  the  Capitol  hill  was  literally  alive  with 
the  multitude,  who  stood  ready  to  receive  the  hero  and 
the  multitude  who  attended  him.  'There,  there,  that  is 
he,"  exclaimed  different  voices.  "Which?"  asked  others. 
"He  with  the  white  head,"  was  the  reply.  "Ah,"  ex- 
claimed others,  "there  is  the  old  man  and  his  gray  hair, 
there  is  the  old  veteran,  there  is  Jackson."  At  last  he 
enters  the  gate  at  the  foot  of  the  hill  and  turns  to  the 
road  that  leads  round  to  the  front  of  the  Capitol.  In 
a  moment  every  one  who  until  then  had  stood  like  statues 
gazing  on  the  scene  below  them,  rushed  onward,  to  right, 
to  left,  to  be  ready  to  receive  him  in  the  front.  Our 
party,  of  course,  were  more  deliberate,  we  waited  until 
the  multitude  had  rushed  past  us  and  then  left  the 
terrace  and  walked  round  to  the  furthest  side  of  the 
square,  where  there  were  no  carriages  to  impede  us, 
and  entered  it  by  the  gate  fronting  the  Capitol.  Here 
was  a  clear  space,  and  stationing  ourselves  on  the  cen- 
tral gravel  walk  we  stood  so  as  to  have  a  clear,  full  view 
of  the  whole  scene.  The  Capitol  in  all  its  grandeur  and 
beauty.  The  Portico  and  grand  steps  leading  to  it,  were 
filled  with  ladies.  Scarlet,  purple,  blue,  yellow,  white 
draperies  and  waving  plumes  of  every  kind  and  colour, 
among  the  white  marble  pillars,  had  a  fine  effect.  In 
the  centre  of  the  portico  was  a  table  covered  with  scar- 
let, behind  it  the  closed  door  leading  into  the  rotunda, 
below  the  Capitol  and  all  around,  a  mass  of  living  beings, 
not  a  ragged  mob,  but  well  dressed  and  well  behaved 
respectable  and  worthy  citizens.  Mr.  Frank  Key,  whose 
arm  I  had,  and  an  old  and  frequent  witness  of  great  spec- 
tacles, often  exclaimed,  as  well  as  myself,  a  mere  novice, 


294  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

"It  is  beautiful,  it  is  sublime!"  The  sun  had  been  ob- 
scured through  the  morning  by  a  mist,  or  haziness.  But 
the  concussion  in  the  air,  produced  by  the  discharge  of 
the  cannon,  dispersed  it  and  the  sun  shone  forth  in  all 
his  brightness.  At  the  moment  the  General  entered  the 
Portico  and  advanced  to  the  table,  the  shout  that  rent 
the  air,  still  resounds  in  my  ears.  When  the  speech  was 
over,  and  the  President  made  his  parting  bow,  the  bar- 
rier that  had  separated  the  people  from  him  was  broken 
down  and  they  rushed  up  the  steps  all  eager  to  shake 
hands  with  him.  It  was  with  difficulty  he  made  his  way 
through  the  Capitol  and  down  the  hill  to  the  gateway 
that  opens  on  the  avenue.  Here  for  a  moment  he  was 
stopped.  The  living  mass  was  impenetrable.  After  a 
while  a  passage  was  opened,  and  he  mounted  his  horse 
which  had  been  provided  for  his  return  (for  he  had 
walked  to  the  Capitol)  then  such  a  cortege  as  followed 
him!  Country  men,  farmers,  gentlemen,  mounted  and 
dismounted,  boys,  women  and  children,  black  and  white. 
Carriages,  wagons  and  carts  all  pursuing  him  to  the 
President's  house, — this  I  only  heard  of  for  our  party 
went  out  at  the  opposite  side  of  the  square  and  went  to 
Col.  Benton's  lodgings,  to  visit  Mrs.  Benton  and  Mrs. 
Gilmore.  Here  was  a  perfect  levee,  at  least  a  hundred 
ladies  and  gentlemen,  all  happy  and  rejoicing, — wine 
and  cake  was  handed  in  profusion.  We  sat  with  this 
company  and  stopped  on  the  summit  of  the  hill  un- 
til the  avenue  was  comparatively  clear,  tho'  at  any 
other  time  we  should  have  thought  it  terribly  crowded. 
Streams  of  people  on  foot  and  of  carriages  of  all  kinds, 
still  pouring  towards  the  President's  house.  We  went 
Home,  found  your  papa  and  sisters  at  the  Bank,1  stand- 

1  Branch  Bank  of  the  United  States  of  which  Mr.  Smith  was  president. 
It  stood  at  the  corner  of  15th  Street  and  Pennsylvania  Avenue. 


z829]        MOB    AT    THE   WHITE    HOUSE         295 

ing  at  the  upper  windows,  where  they  had  been  seen 
by  the  President,  who  took  off  his  hat  to  them,  which 
they  insisted  was  better  than  all  we  had  seen.  From 
the  Bank  to  the  President's  house  for  a  long  while,  the 
crowd  rendered  a  passage  for  us  impossible.  Some  went 
into  the  Cashier's  parlour,  where  we  found  a  number 
of  ladies  and  gentlemen  and  had  cake  and  wine  in 
abundance.  In  about  an  hour,  the  pavement  was  clear 
enough  for  us  to  walk.  Your  father,  Mr.  Wood,  Mr. 
Ward,  Mr.  Lyon,  with  us,  we  set  off  to  the  President's 
House,  but  on  a  nearer  approach  found  an  entrance  im- 
possible, the  yard  and  avenue  was  compact  with  living 
matter.  The  day  was  delightful,  the  scene  animating, 
so  we  walked  backward  and  forward  at  every  turn  meet- 
ing some  new  acquaintance  and  stopping  to  talk  and 
shake  hands.  Among  others  we  met  Zavr.  Dickinson 
with  Mr.  Frelinghuysen  and  Dr.  Elmendorf,  and  Mr. 
Saml  Bradford.  We  continued  promenading  here,  until 
near  three,  returned  home  unable  to  stand  and  threw 
ourselves  on  the  sopha.  Some  one  came  and  informed 
us  the  crowd  before  the  President's  house,  was  so  far 
lessen'd,  that  they  thought  we  might  enter.  This  time 
we  effected  our  purpose.  But  what  a  scene  did  we  wit- 
ness !  The  Majesty  of  the  People  had  disappeared,  and 
a  rabble,  a  mob,  of  boys,  negros,  women,  children, 
scrambling  righting,  romping.  What  a  pity  what  a  pity ! 
No  arrangements  had  been  made  no  police  officers 
placed  on  duty  and  the  whole  house  had  been  inundated 
by  the  rabble  mob.  We  came  too  late.  The  President, 
after  having  been  literally  nearly  pressed  to  death  and 
almost  suffocated  and  torn  to  pieces  by  the  people  in  their 
eagerness  to  shake  hands  with  Old  Hickory,  had  re- 
treated through  the  back  way  or  south  front  and  had 
escaped  to  his  lodgings  at   Gadsby's.     Cut  glass   and 


296  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

china  to  the  amount  of  several  thousand  dollars  had  been 
broken  in  the  struggle  to  get  the  refreshments,  punch 
and  other  articles  had  been  carried  out  in  tubs  and 
buckets,  but  had  it  been  in  hogsheads  it  would  have 
been  insufficient,  ice-creams,  and  cake  and  lemonade,  for 
20,000  people,  for  it  is  said  that  number  were  there, 
tho'  I  think  the  estimate  exaggerated.  Ladies  fainted, 
men  were  seen  with  bloody  noses  and  such  a  scene  of 
confusion  took  place  as  is  impossible  to  describe, — those 
who  got  in  could  not  get  out  by  the  door  again,  but  had 
to  scramble  out  of  windows.  At  one  time,  the  President 
who  had  retreated  and  retreated  until  he  was  pressed 
against  the  wall,  could  only  be  secured  by  a  number  of 
gentlemen  forming  round  him  and  making  a  kind  of 
barrier  of  their  own  bodies,  and  the  pressure  was  so 
great  that  Col  Bomford  who  was  one  said  that  at 
one  time  he  was  afraid  they  should  have  been  pushed 
down,  or  on  the  President.  It  was  then  the  windows 
were  thrown  open,  and  the  torrent  found  an  outlet, 
which  otherwise  might  have  proved  fatal. 

This  concourse  had  not  been  anticipated  and  therefore 
not  provided  against.  Ladies  and  gentlemen,  only  had 
been  expected  at  this  Levee,  not  the  people  en  masse. 
But  it  was  the  People's  day,  and  the  People's  President 
and  the  People  would  rule.  God  grant  that  one  day  or 
other,  the  People,  do  not  put  down  all  rule  and  rulers. 
I  fear,  enlightened  Freemen  as  they  are,  they  will  be 
found,  as  they  have  been  found  in  all  ages  and  countries 
where  they  get  the  Power  in  their  hands,  that  of  all 
tyrants,  they  are  the  most  ferocious,  cruel  and  despotic. 
The  nosiy  and  disorderly  rabble  in  the  President's  House 
brought  to  my  mind  descriptions  I  had  read,  of  the  mobs 
in  the   Tuileries  and   at  Versailles,   I   expect  to  hear 


i829]      UNIVERSAL    REMOVAL   FEARED        297 

the  carpets  and  furniture  are  ruined,  the  streets  were 
muddy,  and  these  guests  all  went  thither  on  foot. 

The  rest  of  the  day,  overcome  with  fatigue  I  lay 
upon  the  sopha.  The  girls  went  to  see  Mrs.  Clay  and 
Mrs.  Southard.  Mrs.  Rush  was  at  Mrs.  C.'s — Mrs. 
Clay's  furniture  all  sold,  the  entry  full  of  hay,  straw, 
and  packages,  and  in  her  little  back  room,  scarcely  a 
chair  to  sit  on  and  she  worn  out  with  fatigue.  "This 
being  turned  out,  is  a  sad,  troublesome  thing,  is  it  not?" 
said  Mrs.  Rush.  "Coming  in,  is  troublesome  enough, 
but  then,  one  does  not  mind  the  trouble.' ' 

After  tea,  Mr.  Ward,  Mr.  Wood,  Mr.  Lyon,  and 
Warren  Scott,  came  in  and  staid  until  past  11  oclock. 
Mr.  S.  and  I  talked  of  Brunswick  friends  and  of  old 
times.  Col.  Bomford  has  been  here,  just  now  and  given 
me  an  account  of  the  Ball,  which  he  says  was  elegant, 
splendid  and  in  perfect  order.  The  President  and  his 
family  were  not  there.  The  Vice  President  and  lady 
and  the  members  of  the  new  cabinet  were.  Mrs.  Bom- 
ford was  in  her  grand  costume, — scarlet  velvet  richly 
trimmed  with  gold  embroidery,  the  large  Ruby,  set  in 
diamonds,  for  which  Col.  Bomford  has  refused  five 
thousand  dollars,  and  which  I  believe  you  have  seen,  she 
wore  in  her  turban.  Mr.  Baldwin,1  notwithstanding  his 
disappointment,  for  he  confidently  expected  a  place  in 
the  Cabinet,  was,  Col  B.  says,  excessively  merry.  Dur- 
ing all  this  bustle  in  the  city,  Mr.  Adams  was  quietly 
fixed  at  Meridian  Hill,  to  which  place  he  and  his  family 
had  removed  some  days  before.  .  .  .  Everybody 
is  in  a  state  of  agitation, — gloomy  or  glad.  A  uni- 
versal removal  in  the  departments  is  apprehended,  and 
many  are  quaking  and  trembling,  where  all  depends  on 
their  places. 

1  Henry  Baldwin  of  Pennsylvania.     He  was  appointed  a  Judge  of  the 
Supreme  Court  in  1830. 


298  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

The  city,  so  crowded  and  bustling,  by  tomorrow  will 
be  silent  and  deserted,  for  people  are  crowding  away  as 
eagerly  as  they  crowded  here.  Mrs.  Porter  goes  on 
Saturday,  Mrs.  Clay  on  Monday,  Mrs.  Wirt  and  Southard 
in  the  course  of  the  week.  We  are  asked  to  a  party  at 
Mrs.  Wirt's  tonight,  but  shall  not  go, — the  funeral  of 
the  morning  leaves  us  no  disposition  for  company. 


TO  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH. 

[Washington,]  March  12th,  1829. 
The  winter  campaign  is  over — the  tents  are  struck 
and  the  different  parties  are  leaving  the  field — Congress 
has  adjourned — and  the  hosts  of  strangers  who  but  a 
few  days  ago,  swarmed  our  streets  and  crowded  the 
public  houses,  are  gone  too — the  bustle  of  a  busy  throng 
— the  rolling  of  many  carriages  have  ceased  and  the 
busy  and  animated  scene,  is  comparatively  silent  and 
deserted.  .  .  .  Our  friends,  too,  Mrs.  Porter,  Mrs. 
Clay,  and  many  others  are  gone  or  going,  and  these  con- 
tinual partings  with  those  we  love  and  esteem,  have 
thrown  a  sadness  over  the  last  week,  that  I  in  vain  try 
to  dispel.  Never  before  did  the  city  seem  to  me  so 
gloomy — so  many  changes  in  society — so  many  families 
broken  up,  and  those  of  the  first  distinction  and  who  gave 
a  tone  to  society.  Those  elegantly  furnished  houses, 
stripped  of  their  splendid  furniture — that  furniture  ex- 
posed to  public  sale.  Those  drawing-rooms,  brilliantly 
illuminated,  in  which  I  have  so  often  mixed  with  gay 
crowds,  distinguished  by  rank,  fashion,  beauty,  talent — 
resounding  with  festive  sounds — now,  empty,  silent, 
dark,  dismantled.  Oh!  tis  melancholy!  Mrs.  Clay's, 
Mrs.  Porter's,  Mrs.  Southard's  houses  exhibit  this  spec- 


1 829]      DEPARTURE    OF    OLD    FRIENDS        299 

tacle — They  are  completely  stripped — the  furniture  all 
sold — the  families,  for  the  few  days  they  remained  after 
the  sale — uncomfortably  crowded  in  one  little  room. 
The  door  shut  on  company  and  only  one  or  two  inti- 
mate friends  admitted — Nor  does  the  Entry,  of  the  tri- 
umphant party,  relieve  this  universal  gloom — Alas!  it 
only  adds  to  it — General  Jackson's  family  in  deep 
mourning — secludes  them  from  society, — they  are  not 
known,  or  seen,  except  at  formal  morning  visits — They 
quietly  took  possession  of  the  big  house,  where  if  they 
choose  they  may  remain  invisible,  and  as  much  sepa- 
rated from  social  intercourse,  as  if  on  the  other  side  of 
the  mountains — But  what  most  adds  to  the  general 
gloom — is  the  rumour  of  a  general  proscription — Every 
individual  connected  with  the  government,  from  the 
highest  officer  to  the  lowest  clerk,  is  filled  with  appre- 
hension. Men  whose  all  depends  on  the  decision,  await 
it  in  fear  and  trembling — Oh  how  dreadfully  must  a 
parent  feel,  when  he  looks  on  his  children  gathered 
round  him,  and  knows  that  one  word  spoken  by  a 
stranger,  may  reduce  them  to  beggary — Such  is  the  sit- 
uation of  hundreds  at  the  present  moment — and  of  men 
too  far  advanced  in  life,  to  be  able  to  enter  on  new 
paths  of  industry.  Last  Sunday  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Clay 
passed  with  us,  in  a  social,  domestic  manner — Never 
did  I  see  this  great  man,  (for  in  native  point  of  mind,  I 
never  knew  his  equal)  so  interesting — nay  fascinating. 
I  had  heard  of  his  possessing  this  power  of  captivation, 
which  no  one  who  was  its  object  could  resist,  and  I  have 
before  seen  and  felt  its  influence,  but  never  in  the  same 
degree,  as  on  this  occasion.  At  dinner  he  sat  next  to 
your  father,  next  to  one  he  knew  to  be  opposed  to  his 
late  political  course  and  whom  for  many  years  he  had, 
consequently,  seldom  seen,  but  the  little  differences  of 


3oo  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

party  were  forgotten;  the  patriot  to  the  patriot,  who, 
however  they  might  differ  in  the  means,  had  the  same 
end  in  view.  Meeting  on  this  common  ground  and 
avoiding  the  late  field  of  combat  they  conversed  on  gen- 
eral yet  interesting  subjects,  connected  with  past  events. 
The  characters  and  administrations  of  Jefferson  and 
Madison  were  analized,  and  many  private  anecdotes 
were  drawn  from  the  memory  of  each.  Mr.  Clay  pre- 
ferred Madison,  and  pronounced  him  after  Washington 
our  greatest  statesman,  and  first  political  writer — He 
thought  Jefferson  had  most  genius — Madison  most 
judgment  and  common  sense — Jefferson  a  visionary  and 
theorist,  often  betrayed  by  his  enthusiasm  into  rash  and 
imprudent  and  impracticable  measures,  Madison  cool, 
dispassionate,  practical,  safe.  Your  father,  would  not 
yield  Jefferson's  superiority  and  said  he  possessed  a 
power  and  energy,  which  carried  our  country  through 
difficulties  and  dangers;  far  beyond  the  power  of  Mad- 
ison's less  energetic  character.  "Prudence  and  caution 
— would  have  produced  the  same  results,"  insisted  Mr. 
Clay.  After  drawing  a  parellel  between  these  great 
men,  and  taking  an  historic  survey  of  their  political  lives, 
they  both  met  on  the  same  point,  viz.  that  both  were 
great  and  good,  and  tho'  different, — yet  equal — We  lin- 
gered long  around  the  table,  after  dinner  was  removed, 
listening  to  this  interesting  conversation. — When  we 
returned  to  the  parlour  Mr.  Clay  left  us,  to  take  his  usual 
walk,  and  Mr.  Ward,  Mr.  Lyon,  and  General  McComb 
unexpectedly  entered — The  weather  without  was 
gloomy,  cold  and  cloudy,  but  the  circle  around  our  bright 
fire,  was  not  only  cheerful  but  gay  and  witty.  It  was 
twilight — rather  fire-light  when  Mr.  Clay  returned — 
Anna  Maria  relinquished  to  him,  his  favorite  seat  on  the 
sofa,  on  which  he  threw  himself,  reclining,  rather  than 


i8a9]  CLAY   AT   HIS    EASE  301 

sitting — How  graceful  he  looked ! — his  face  was  flushed 
with  exercise  and  his  countenance  animated  with  some 
strong  emotion.  After  a  while  without  any  previous 
observation,  half  rising  from  his  recumbent  position,  and 
stretching  out  his  arm,  "There  is  not,"  said  he,  "at  Cairo 
or  Constantinople,  a  greater  moral  despotism  than  is  at 
this  moment  exercised  in  this  city  over  public  opinion. 
Why  a  man  dare  not  avow  what  he  thinks  or  feels,  or 
shake  hands  with  a  personal  friend,  if  he  happens  to 
differ  from  the  powers  that  be.,,  I  shook  my  head  ob- 
serving, "Not  all,  Mr.  Clay."  "Yes,  a///'  said  he,  "who 
have  anything  to  lose — and  I  should  not  this  day  be  in 
your  house,  if  Mr.  Smith  was  not  safely  laid  up  in  the 
Bank." — We  all  laughed,  while  I  replied  "You  would  not 
say  so,  if  you  believed  so  Mr.  Clay" — "If  the  fact  were 
true,"  said  your  father,  in  his  sternest  manner  "such 
men  deserve  to  lose  their  places,  and  I  would  have  them 
all  turned  out"— "Oh,  Mr.  Smith"  replied  Mr.  Clay,  his 
countenance,  his  manner,  his  voice  softening  into  the 
most  tender  and  persuasive  expression  "Oh,  Mr.  Smith 
— we  must  forgive  them — remember  they  suffer  not 
alone — their  families,  their  children — think  of  them,  and 
who  is  there  would  not  excuse  their  timidity."  Lan- 
guage cannot  describe  the  manner  and  look  with  which 
this  was  said — No  doubt,  his  first  remark,  was  elicited, 
by  some  neglect  he  himself  had  felt,  during  his  walk — 
but  how  soon  was  momentary  indignation  conquered  by 
generous  and  tender  feelings — He  has  from  nature  a 
fund  of  tenderness  and  sensibility,  which  even  ambition, 
that  all-absorbing  passion,  has  not  had  power  to  dry 
up — "The  politician  has  no  heart"  says  Sallust  then,  even 
yet,  Henry  Clay,  is  not  a  thorough  politician,  for  on 
many  an  occasion  have  I  witnessed  the  irrepressible  ten- 
derness of  a  feeling  heart — Never  can  I  forget  the  tears 


302  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

he  shed,  over  his  dying  infant,  as  it  lay  in  my  lap,  and  he 
kneeled  by  my  side — With  what  deep  tenderness  did  he 
gaze  on  it,  until,  unable  to  witness  its  last  agonies,  he 
impressed  a  long  tender  kiss  on  its  pale  lips — murmur- 
ing out  "Farewell,  my  little  one" — and  left  the  chamber 
— and  the  next  morning  when  obliged  to  speak  to  me 
about  the  funeral,  he  walked  the  room,  for  some  time, 
in  mournful  silence,  as  if  struggling  to  compose  his  feel- 
ings, so  as  to  be  able  to  give  his  directions  with  calm- 
ness— "My  only  difficulty"  said  he  at  length,  "is  to  de- 
cide on  what  is  my  duty — I  would  fain  remain  at  home 
this  morning — but  I  believe  it  will  not  do — I  have  no 
right  to  allow  private  concerns  to  interfere  with  public 
duty — No — I  must  go  to  the  House,"  (he  was  then 
Speaker)  I  combatted  this,  and  told  him  I  was  certain 
the  members  would  not  expect  him — He  still  walked  the 
room  in  doubt  how  to  act — when  the  Sergeant  at  Arms 
was  announced,  and  on  his  entrance,  brought  him  the 
condolence  of  the  House,  and  an  offer,  if  he  wished  it, 
of  attending  the  funeral — "Thank  the  gentlemen  for  me, 
and  tell  them  I  am  truly  grateful  for  their  indulgence  in 
excusing  my  attendance  this  morning — beyond  this  I 
have  nothing  to  wish  and  beg  they  will  not  put  them- 
selves to  inconvenience — it  is  an  infant — and  I  wish  only 
the  attendance  of  my  family,  and  the  few  friends  who 
are  with  us." — -This  winter,  when  he  first  learnt  the 
result  of  the  election,  instead  of  depression  of  spirit  his 
mind  seemed  inspired  with  new  vigour  and  animation  as 
if  relieved  from  some  heavy  burthen — suspense  was  over 
— and  to  a  person  of  his  nature,  ardent,  restless  temper- 
ament, suspense  is  the  least  endurable  of  all  sufferings — 
New  scenes,  new  projects  opened  on  his  view — like  a 
wrestler,  who  had  been  thrown,  but  not  disabled,  he 
started  up,  shook  off  the  dust,  and  wiped  off  the  sweat  of 


i829]  CLAY'S    HIGH    SPIRIT  303 

the  first  conflict,  and  gathering  up  new  strength  and  reso- 
lution— prepared  for  another  combat  for  the  prize  of 
glory — Such  has  he  seemed  to  me,  since  the  election  was 
decided — more  elastic,  more  vigorous,  more  high 
spirited — and  I  verily  believe  he  is  actually  happier  than 
if  calmly  and  securely  seated  in  the  presidential  chair — 
for  then  there  would  be  none  of  the  activity,  energy,  and 
power  of  conflict  brought  into  play — excitement  is  as 
necessary  to  his  moral,  as  stimulus  is  to  his  physical  ex- 
istence— Henry  Clay  was  made  for  action — not  for  rest. 
— Such  was  the  result  of  his  political  affliction — How  dif- 
ferent its  effects  from  those  of  private,  domestic  sorrow ! 
— When  he  heard  of  the  excesses  of  a  profligate  but  still 
beloved  son — when  he  heard  that  son  was  in  prison — 
his  heart  sunk  within  him — disease  was  increased  by 
distress — health  and  rest  forsook  him — I  alluded  to  this 
in  a  former  letter — the  circumstance  was  then  a  secret, 
and  I  told  you  not  of  it — since,  I  have  discovered  it  to  be 
generally  known,  and  therefore  tell  it  you. — For  several 
weeks  Mr.  Clay  told  me,  sleep  totally  forsook  him,  and 
he  could  procure  none  but  through  the  aid  of  anodynes.- 
It  was  a  knowledge  of  this  secret  sorrow,  at  the  time  of 
the  last  Drawing-room  that  so  tenderly  excited  my  sym- 
pathy, that  I  had  to  retreat  to  a  corner  to  conceal  tears 
I  could  not  repress — (but  I  believe  it  was  to  your  aunt, 
and  not  to  you  I  described  that  scene) — When  I  am  writ- 
ing on  a  subject  that  interests  me  I  cannot  stop  my  pen. 
— but  from  this  long  digression,  let  me  try  and  get  back 
to  our  own  fireside,  and  the  admiring  circle  that  sur- 
rounded Mr.  Clay — So  interesting  was  his  conversation, 
so  captivating  his  frank  cordial  manner,  that  I  could 
almost  have  said  with  Mr.  Lyon — "I  could  have  listened 
all  night,  and  many  nights  with  delight" — and  with  Mr. 
Ward  have  exclaimed  "What  a  treat!     It  is  indeed  the 


304  WASHINGTON   SOCIETY  [Mar. 

feast  of  reason,  and  the  flow  of  soul." — Washington, 
Jefferson,  Hamilton,  Burr,  and  many  other  conspicuous 
actors  in  our  National  drama  were  the  subjects  of  dis- 
cussion— not  only  their  character,  but  their  actions,  and 
their  motive  of  action — To  read  history,  is  cold,  stale, 
and  unprofitable,  compared  with  hearing  it — the  elo- 
quence of  language,  is  enforced  by  eloquence  of  the  soul- 
speaking  eye  and  persuasive  voice — It  was  past  ten 
o'clock  before  Mrs.  Clay,  usually  so  early  in  her  hours, 
rose  to  depart — Altogether,  this  day  and  evening  have 
been  the  most  interesting  that  have  occurred  this  win- 
ter— Yesterday,  your  father  accompanied  us  on  a  visit 
to  our  new  President — I  imagine  we  were  the  only 
ladies,  who  had  not,  long  before  hastened  to  wait  on  his 
family — but  I  felt  too  much  on  losing  my  old  friends,  to 
be  in  haste  to  pay  my  respects  to  their  successors — After 
sitting  awhile  with  Miss  Easton,  Mr.  Smith  asked  if  the 
President  saw  ladies — She  said  she  would  inquire,  and 
left  the  room  for  that  purpose — In  a  few  minutes  after 
she  sent  our  names,  General  Jackson  entered.  Mr.  S. 
introduced  us,  and  he  shook  hands  cordially  with  each 
of  us.  I  asked  very  frankly  of  his  being  unwell,  and  at- 
tributed his  indisposition  to  having  too  much  to  do — 
the  Senate  being  impatient  to  rise,  and  he  consequently 
having  to  work  night  as  well  as  day.  Was  not  this  frank 
— He  shook  hands  again  with  each  when  we  went,  and 
I  must  say  I  was  much  pleased — A  carriage — interrupted 
— Tuesday  17th. 

Two  days  have  passed  since  I  commenced  this  letter, 
during  which  nothing  interesting  has  occurred — All  the 
citizens,  more  or  less,  have  been  engaged  in  the  bustle  of 
the  winter,  and  are  glad  of  quiet — at  least  all  that  I 
know — There  is  a  complete  cessation  of  parties  and  visit- 
ing— the  weather  has  been  bad,  another  cause  for  staying 


i**9]    VISIT    TO   THE    NEW    PRESIDENT      305 

at  home — I  have  enjoyed  this  quiet,  read  and  written 
more  the  last  week,  than  in  a  whole  month,  before — 
We  shall  remove  into  the  country  the  beginning  of  next 
month,  if  the  weather  allows  when  will  you  be  here? 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]   [1829] 

.  .  .  .  Mr.  Campbell1  seldom  visits  us.  His  mind 
seems  wholly  engaged  with  his  affair  with  Mrs.  E. 
[aton] — he  has  injudicious  friends  who  keep  alive  his 
irritation  of  mind  and  temper  and  are  urging  him  on  to 
make  an  Exposee  of  facts  which  tho'  they  would  free  him 
from  the  imputation  of  a  false  calumniater,  would  em- 
broil him  with  the  present  party,  throw  him  into  the  arms 
of  the  opposition  and  in  fact  make  a  political  tool  of 
him.  The  facts  he  possesses  might  ruin  (it  is  said)  the 
Seer,  and  his  wife,  but  what  then.  Would  it  raise  him 
in  public  estimation  and  thereby  increase  his  usefulness? 
I  think  not,  and  have  said  so  to  him,  and  by  so  doing, 
show  less  sympathy  in  his  excited  feelings,  than  those 
who  appear  to  enter  so  warmly  into  his  interests  and 
urge  him  to  publish  a  book,  while  in  fact  I  believe  they 
use  him,  to  promote  their  own  views. 

Mrs.  E.  continues  excluded  from  society,  except  the 
houses  of  some  of  the  foreigners,  the  President's  and 
Mr.  V.  B.'s.  The  Dutch  Minister's  family  have  openly 
declared  against  her  admission  into  society.  The  other 
evening  at  a  grand  fete  at  the  Russian  Minister's  Mrs. 
E.  was  led  first  to  the  supper  table,  in  consequence  of 
which  Mrs.  Madm.  Heugans  and  family  would  not  go 
to  the  table  and  was  quite  enraged, — for  the  whole  week 

1  George  W.  Campbell  of  Tennessee  was   not  in  office  at  this  time,  nor 
did  he  attain  national  prominence  again. 


3o6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i8*9 

you  heard  of  scarcely  anything  else.  And  it  is  generally 
asserted  that  if  Mr.  V.  B.  our  Seer,  persists  in  visiting 
her,  our  ladies  will  not  go  to  his  house.  We  shall 
see.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Sidney]  Tuesday,  Aug.  16,  1829. 
.  .  .  .  Tell  him  I  am  really  surprised  he  has  not 
come  on  to  see  his  President.  I  can  not  take  to  the  new 
folks.  The  Presd.  and  his  family  sit  in  the  pew  behind 
us,  and  I  often  have  the  pleasure  of  pinching  his  fingers, 
as  he  has  the  habit  of  laying  his  hand  on  the  side  of  the 
pew  and  I  have  the  habit  of  leaning  back.  The  first  two 
or  three  times  of  his  coming  to  church,  he  bowed  and  I 
curtisied  after  church,  and  the  same  with  the  ladies,  but 
now  we  never  look  at  each  other.  Neither  Mr.  S.  or  I 
have  ever  called  but  once  at  the  White-House  and  be- 
sides representation  (we  are  told)  has  been  made  that  Mr. 
S.  is  a  Clayite,  so  that  we  are  not  in  favour  at  court,  and 
as  little  acquainted  with  the  other  members  of  the  ad- 
ministration. Those  citizens  who  wished  for  an  ac- 
quaintance, obtained  it  very  easily,  for  never  before  was 
the  Palace  so  accessible, — persons  of  all  ranks  visit  very 
sociably  I  am  told,  and  in  return  the  family  accept  all  in- 
vitations and  visit  the  citizens  in  the  most  social  manner, 
and  live  on  more  equal  and  familiar  terms,  than  any  other 
Presd.  family  ever  has.  All  my  sympathies  attach  me  to 
the  ex-party. 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Thursday,  27,  Nover.  1829. 
.     .     .     .     From  mere  curiosity  I  have  commenced  an 
account  of  our  visitors  and  every  morning  set  down  the 
number  of  the  previous  day.     It  is  three  weeks  since  I 


i8a9]  JACKSON    PAYS    A    CALL  307 

began  and  the  number  already  amounts  to  197, — not  all 
different  individuals,  but  the  aggregate  of  each  days 
visitors,  who  are  often  the  same  persons.  We  have  at 
least  6  or  7  young  gentlemen  friends,  who  are  fre- 
quently with  us.  An  accidental  concurence  of  circum- 
stances has  obliged  us  to  have  more  invited  company 
within  this  period,  than  we  generally  have  within  treble 
that  time.  Mrs.  Randolph  I  believe  I  told  you  was  set- 
tled among  us  and  very  near  our  house.  I  see  her  almost 
daily,  and  feel  it  incumbent  upon  me,  in  her  present 
altered  condition,  to  pay  her  every  possible  attention.  I 
therefore  had  a  party  for  her,  wishing  to  make  known 
to  her  and  her  to  them,  my  most  agreeable  acquaintances. 
On  this  occasion  I  opened  both  rooms  and  did  my  best  to 
give  her  an  agreeable  party.  Then  came  Mr.  Biddle, 
President  of  the  Bank,  and  Mr.  Smith  had  to  give  him 
a  dinner  party.  (I  would  rather  give  a  dozen  evening 
parties.)  To  this  we  asked  Mr.  Gallatin  and  some  of  the 
members  of  the  Cabinet.  Mr.  Berrian,  whom  we  all  ad- 
mire, nay  almost  love,  was  one.  Truly  he  is  a  most 
charming  man.  We  shall,  I  expect,  be  quite  social  neigh- 
bors, as  Mr.  Smith  is  as  much  taken  with  him  as  any 
of  us 

Dear  Mrs.  Randolf!  How  I  wish  my  dear  sisters 
that  you  knew  her.  Whenever  she  has  visits  to  return, 
I  call  for  and  accompany  her.  Several  mornings  have 
been  thus  engaged.  Yesterday  I  went  with  her  to  the 
President's  to  introduce  her  to  Mrs.  Donaldson.1  She 
was  very  much  affected  on  entering  the  house,  and  with 
tender  emotion  pointed  out  to  her  daughter,  the  differ- 
ent apartments.  "That  was  my  dear  Father's  cabinet, 
that,  his  favorite  sitting  room,  that — was  my  chamber 
and  that,  girls,  was  your  nursery."    Thus,  as  we  passed 

1  Wife  of  Andrew  Jackson  Donelson,  the  President's  private  Secretary. 


3o8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

through  the  Hall  and  long  passages,  to  the  Lady's  draw- 
ing-room on  the  second  floor,  did  she  designate  each 
room.  When  we  were  going  away,  I  enquired  of  Mrs. 
Donaldson,  whether  we  could  look  into  the  East-Room, 
she  answered  in  the  affirmative  and  had  she  known  a 
little  more  of  the  usages  of  good  society,  she  would  have 
accompanied  Mrs.  R.  to  that  and  other  apartments.  But 
she  let  her  go  without  this  attention.  Mrs.  Donaldson 
had  previously  called  on  Mrs.  Randolph,  not  waiting  for 
the  first  visit.  The  President  too,  called  to  see  her,  in 
all  due  form,  the  Seer,  of  State  wrote  a  note  to  Mr. 
Triste  enquiring  of  him,  if  Mrs.  Randolf  would  be  at 
home  at  such  an  hour,  on  such  a  morning,  when,  if  at 
home,  the  President  would  do  himself  the  pleasure  of 
waiting  on  her.  And  so  he  did,  accompanied  by  the 
Seer,  of  State.  He  demonstrated  great  kindness  and  ex- 
pressed his  hopes  that  she  would  be  a  frequent  visitor  at 
his  house.  The  next  day  the  ladies  of  his  family  called 
on  her.  She  has  been  very  generally  visited  and  her  visit- 
ing list  is  filled  as  fast  as  she  empties  it.  I  shall  as  far 
as  is  in  my  power  give  her  the  use  of  our  carriage  and  do 
every  thing  I  can  to  prove  the  tender  regard  and  high 
esteem  I  feel  for  her. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Deer  27,  1829. 
.  .  .  .  She1  and  Mrs.  Randolph  are  the  only 
women  here,  with  whom  I  wish,  in  addition  to  my  old 
friends,  Mrs.  Thornton  and  Bomford,  to  cultivate  an  in- 
timate acquaintance.  Mrs.  Randolph  and  her  family  I 
see  almost  daily.  The  round  of  company  in  which  she 
has  been  involved  lately  has  made  her  sick.    I  passed  part 

*Mrs.  Rush. 


i829]      WEBSTER'S    REPLY    TO    HAYNE        309 

of  a  morning  this  week  by  her  bed-side.  Some  reference 
was  made  to  Monticello.  Her  father's  image  which  is 
seldom  absent  from  her  mind,  was  thus  recalled.  "This" 
said  she,  taking  up  the  down  cover-lit,  which  was  over 
her,  "was  the  one  he  used  for  40  yrs.  and  this  bed  was 
his." — The  one,  I  imagine,  on  which  his  last  hours  were 
past,  for  she  stopped,  choked  by  emotion  and  could  not 
restrain  her  tears,  tho'  she  concealed  them  by  drawing 
the  bedclothes  over  her  face. 

Never  have  I  known  of  a  union  between  any  two 
beings  so  perfect  as  that  which  almost  identified  this 
father  and  daughter.  I  am  sure  you  would  love  Mrs. 
R., — so  soft,  gentle,  mild  and  affectionate,  in  disposi- 
tion, voice,  and  manners,  with  a  mind  so  refined  and  culti- 
vated and  a  character  firm  and  energetic.  It  is  a  pity 
that  her  extreme  modesty  throws  a  veil  over  her  virtues 
and  talents,  which  is  withdrawn  only  by  great  intimacy. 
She  has  been  treated  with  the  greatest  attention  and  re- 
spect by  all  the  citizens  as  well  as  the  officials.  When 
she  dined  at  Mr.  V.  B.'s  he  led  her  first  to  the  table,  even 
before  the  ladies  of  the  President's  family,  and  at  the 
President's  house,  Genl.  Jackson  led  her  before  the  Sena- 
tor's or  Seers,  ladies.  And  as  our  system  of  etiquette 
is  more  rigidly  observed  than  it  ever  was  before,  Mrs.  R. 
is  thus  placed  at  the  head  of  society. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  Janur.  26.     1830. 

.     .     .     .     The  wind  is  blowing  high  and  cold,  the 

streets  filled  with  clouds  of  dust.     We  have  had  no 

weather  all  winter  so  cold.     I  have  fixed  myself  close 

by  a  blazing  fire  to  write  to  you  this  morning  without 


3io  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

much  fear  of  being  interrupted,  for  almost  everyone 
is  thronging  to  the  capitol  to  hear  Mr.  Webster's  reply 
to  Col.  Hayne's1  attack  on  him  and  his  party.  A  de- 
bate on  any  political  principle  would  have  had  no  such 
attraction.  But  personalities  are  irrisistible.  It  is  a 
kind  of  moral  gladiatorship,  in  which  characters  are  torn 
to  pieces,  and  arrows,  yes,  poisoned  arrows,  which  tho' 
not  seen,  are  deeply  felt,  are  hurled  by  the  combatants 
against  each  other.  The  Senate  chamber,  is  the  pres- 
ent arena  and  never  were  the  amphitheatres  of  Rome 
more  crowded  by  the  highest  ranks  of  both  sexes  than 
the  senate  chamber  is.  Every  seat,  every  inch  of  ground, 
even  the  steps,  were  compactly  filled,  and  yet  not  space 
enough  for  the  ladies — the  Senators  were  obliged  to 
relinquish  their  chairs  of  State  to  the  fair  auditors  who 
literally  sat  in  the  Senate.  One  lady  sat  in  Col.  Hayne's 
seat,  while  he  stood  by  her  side  speaking.  I  cannot 
but  regret  that  this  dignified  body  should  become  such 
a  scene  of  personality  and  popular  resort,  it  was  sup- 
posed yesterday  that  there  were  300  ladies  besides  their 
attendant  beaux  on  the  floor  of  the  Senate.  The  two 
galleries  were  crowded  to  overflowing  with  the  People, 
and  the  house  of  Reprs.  quite  deserted.  Our  govern- 
ment is  becoming  every  day  more  and  more  democratic, 
the  rulers  of  the  people  are  truly  their  servants  and 
among  those  rulers  women  are  gaining  more  than  their 
share  of  power.  One  woman  has  made  sad  work  here; 
to  be,  or  not  to  be,  her  friend  is  the  test  of  Presidential 
favour.  Mr.  V.  B.  sided  with  her  and  is  consequently 
the  right  hand  man,  the  constant  riding,  walking  and 
visiting  companion.     The  P and  his  friend  Genl. 

1The  great  debate  between  Webster  and  Hayne  took  place  January 
1 5-26,  and  on  the  day  Mrs.  Smith  wrote  Webster  delivered  his  most  famous 
speech. 


i83o]    GOV.    BRANCH'S    "CRUSH    PARTY"      311 

E.,  while  the  other  members  of  the  cabinet,  are  looked 
on  coldly — some  say  unkindly  and  enjoy  little  share  in 
the  councils  of  state.  Mr.  Calhoun,  Ingham,  his  de- 
voted friend,  Branch  and  Berrian  form  one  party,  the 
Prd.,  V.  B.,  Genl.  E.  and  Mr.  Bary1  the  other.  It  is 
generally  supposed  that,  as  they  cannot  sit  together,  some 
change  in  the  Cabinet  must  take  place.  Meanwhile,  the 
lady  who  caused  this  division,  is  forced  notwithstanding 
the  support  and  favour  of  such  high  personages  to  with- 
draw from  society.  She  is  not  received  in  any  private 
parties,  and  since  the  8th  of  January  has  withdrawn 
from  public  assemblies.  At  the  ball  given  on  that  oc- 
casion, she  was  treated  with  such  marked  and  universal 
neglect  and  indignity,  that  she  will  not  expose  herself 
again  to  such  treatment.  Genl.  E.,  unable  to  clear  his 
wife's  fair  fame,  has  taken  his  revenge  by  blackening 

that  of  other  ladies,  one  of  whose  husbands  ( )  has 

resented  it  in  such  a  manner,  that  it  was  universally  be- 
lieved he  would  receive  a  challenge.  But  Genl.  E.  has 
very  quietly  pocketed  the  abuse  lavished  on  him.  This 
affair  was  for  two  weeks  the  universal  topic  of  conversa- 
tion. Mr.  Campbell,  as  the  original  cause  of  all  this  up- 
roar and  difficulty,  felt  so  miserable  for  a  whole  week, 
while  a  duel  was  daily  expected,  that  he  said  it  wholly 
unfitted  him  for  everything  else.  It  is  only  as  it  regards 
our  young  pastor,  that  I  take  any  interest  in  this  affair. 
On  his  account  I  greatly  regret  it,  for  so  completely  has 
it  occupied  his  time  and  his  mind  that  it  has  rendered 
him  incapable  of  attending  to  his  ministerial  or  pastoral 
duties,  to  such  a  degree  as  to  produce  great  dissatis- 
faction in  his  congregation.  He  has  received  a  call  from 
Albany,  with  the  offer  of  a  salary  of  $2000,  and  I  rather 

1  William  T.   Barry,  of   Kentucky,  appointed  by  Jackson  Postmaster 
General. 


3i2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

think  he  will  accept  it,  if  he  does  we  shall  lose  a  good 
preacher  but  nothing  more.  The  admiration  excited 
by  his  sermons  has  spoiled  him  for  a  faithful  Pastor, — 
a  humble  minister  of  the  gospel.  He  is  an  elegant, 
polished,  agreeable  young  man,  of  brilliant  talents,  of 
bland  and  pleasing  manners.  He  seldom  visits  us,  and 
none  of  that  intimacy  and  confidence  and  interest  has 
taken  place,  which  I  would  desire  should  connect  me 
and  mine  with  our  Pastor. 

Since  Christmas  we  have,  comparatively  to  what  we 
were  before,  been  quite  retired  and  domestic.  The  gay 
season,  then  commenced — large  parties,  every  night — 
these  we  do  not  like.  Gov.  Branch's  crush-party  sick- 
ened me  of  them  and  we  have  declined  12  or  13  invi- 
tations. We  have  three  for  this  week  but  shall  not 
accept  of  one.  But  most  folks  are  fond  of  them  and  our 
neighbors  and  beaux  among  the  rest,  so  that  instead  of 
participating  of  our  fire-side  pleasures  they  sought  these 
of  drawing  rooms  and  Balls.  The  less  we  go  out  the 
less  we  are  inclined  to  go  out,  so  that  we  shall  soon, 
if  we  go  on  at  this  rate,  live  as  retired  as  we  did  at 
Sidney.  Yet  it  is  seldom  we  are  quite  alone ;  when  we 
are,  one  of  the  girls  reads  aloud  and  thus  pleasantly 
beguiles  the  evening.  I  have  visited  but  few  strangers. 
Mrs.  Frelinghuysen  is  among  that  few.  I  want  to  ask 
her  to  pass  an  evening,  but  if  I  do  there  are  so  many 
others  that  I  must  ask,  and  I  feel  so  little  inclined  to 
give  a  party,  that  I  fear  to  undertake  it;  as  for  a  plain 
tea-drinking,  she  would  not  think  it  worth  while  to  get 
a  hack  to  come  to  one.  The  city  is  thronged  with 
strangers,  fashionable  ladies  from  all  quarters,  a  great 
many  mothers  with  daughters  to  show  off,  a  great  many 
young  ladies  coming  to  see  relatives  and  to  be  seen  by 
the  public  and  all  coming  in  such  high  ton  and  expen- 


i83o]  MRS.  RANDOLPH'S    FAMILY  313 

sive  fashions,  that  the  poor  citizens  can  not  pretend  to 
vie  with  them  and  absolutely  shrink  into  insignficance, 
We  have  made  no  interesting  acquaintances.  I  prom- 
ised myself  more  pleasure  than  I  have  realized  in  my 
intercourse  with  Mrs.  Randolph.  Her  family  is  so  very, 
very  large  that  I  can  never  see  her  alone;  besides  she 
and  her  4  daughters  are  continually,  almost  every  night 
in  company  and  when  disengaged  are  happy  to  find  rest 
and  quiet  by  themselves  at  home.  Our  young  folks  do 
not  take  to  each  other  as  I  hoped.  Her  daughters  can 
bear  no  comparrison  to  her,  tho'  they  are  very  amiable 
and  intelligent.  When  all  this  turmoil  of  gaiety  is 
over,  I  hope  to  see  more  of  her.  She  is  completely 
wearied,  but  thinks  it  advantageous  to  her  family  to 
mix  in  society.  My  Julia  is  quite  recovered  and  we  are 
all  quite  well  and  I  think  quite  contented,  which  is  the 
highest  degree  of  happiness  we  should  expect.  May 
you  dear  sister  and  those  you  love  be  blessed  with  it. 


TO   MRS.   KIRKPATRICK 

March  31st,  1830.     Washington. 

.  .  .  .  Since  I  began  this  letter  I  have  had  several 
interruptions, — first  came  Joseph  Dougherty,  the  favor- 
ite and  confidential  servant  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  while  he 
resided  in  Washington.  He  is  an  Irishman,  and  has  all 
the  glow  of  affection  and  enthusiasm  peculiar  to  his 
nation.  With  a  good  education  and  natural  intelligence 
he  acquired  in  his  long  service  a  degree  of  elevation  and 
refinement  of  feelings  and  views,  seldom  or  ever  found 
in  his  class.  He  sat  at  least  an  hour,  talking  of  the  dear 
old  Man,  as  he  called  him,  and  telling  me  anecdotes 
about  his  private  life,  which  only  a  favorite  domestic 


3i4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

could  tell.  He  was  in  the  midst  of  a  minute  detail  of 
Mr.  J.'s  distribution  of  every  hour  of  the  day,  from  sun 
rise  until  bed  time,  when  Mrs.  Cutts  entered.  "Well," 
exclaimed  he,  "here  are  three  of  us,  who  can  testify  of 
the  good  old  times!"  When  Mrs.  Randolph  arrived  in 
the  city,  he  waited  on  her,  and  after  urging  his  services 
(gratuitous  and  friendly)  he  finished  by  saying,  "Do, 
madam,  make  me  of  use  to  you,  and  believe  me,  I  will 
now  be  a  more  faithful  and  devoted  servant  to  you,  than 
I  ever  was  while  you  lived  in  the  President's  house." 
He  is  never  weary  of  reciting  Mr.  J.'s  praises.  "His 
whole  life  was  nothing  but  good,"  said  he, — "it  was  his 
meat  and  drink,  all  he  thought  of  and  all  he  cared  for, 
to  make  every  body  happy.  Yes,  the  purest  body."  He 
was  sure  nobody  could  know  without  loving  and  blessing 
him.  The  entrance  of  other  company,  made  him  with- 
draw, and  after  Dr.  Seawell  and  Mrs.  Brown  went,  Col. 
Bomford  came  in  and  sat  more  than  an  hour.  Thus  has 
my  rainy  morning  been  stolen  from  me,  which  I  had 
appropriated  to  letter  writing. 

I  have  been  much  engaged  lately  in  reading  Mr.  Jef- 
ferson's correspondence.1  Seated  at  my  chamber  window 
from  whence  I  could  see  the  President's  house,  terrace 
and  garden.  I  often  withdraw  my  eyes  from  the  book 
to  look  at  the  place  which  once  knew  him,  but  knows  him 
now  no  more.  "And  is  it  possible,"  I  said  to  myself, 
"that  I  have  been  the  familiar  companion  of  this  man 
who  will  be  hereafter  looked  upon,  as  we  now  look  upon 
Cicero,  and  other  great  men  of  antiquity, — that  I  have 
conversed  with  him  of  the  events  recorded  in  these  pages, 
and  which  will  constitute  some  of  the  most  important 
facts  in  the  history  of  mankind? — that  I  have  walked 

1"  Memoirs,  Correspondence,  and  Miscellanies  of  Thomas  Jefferson,"  by 
Thomas  J.  Randolph  (4  vols.  Boston,  1820). 


i83o]  JEFFERSON'S    SERVANT  315 

with  him  on  that  Terrace,  sat  by  his  domestic  fire-side 
and  been  with  him  in  the  still  more  sacred  seclusion  of  his 
daughters  sick-chamber?"  How  like  a  dream  it  appears. 
I  wish  every  body  would  read  these  letters,  and  not  a  few 
selected  ones,  most  unfavorable  to  his  character.  Take 
them  all  in  all,  and  they  present  examples  of  candour, 
impartiality,  benevolence,  and  wisdom,  seldom,  if  ever 
equalled.  Cicero's  correspondence  can  bear  no  com- 
parison as  to  intellectual  excellence.  Whatever  his  opin- 
ions on  religion  were,  they  were  not  negligently  made 
up.  His  researches  were  deep  and  extensive.  And  the 
result  of  these  researches,  was  conviction  of  the  truth 
of  the  system  he  adopted,  but  at  the  same  time  of  the  most 
perfect  tollerance  towards  other  men's  opinions.  "I 
judge  of  every  man's  faith,  by  his  life,"  said  he  in  a  letter 
to  me,  "and  I  wish  my  fellow  citizens  to  judge  of  mine 
by  the  same  test."  Mrs.  Randolph  has  lent  me,  one  work 
of  his,  that  shows  the  interest  he  took  in  the  subject  of 
religion.  It  is  selections  from  the  four  Gospels,  so  ar- 
ranged as  to  give  the  complete  history  of  the  life,  pre- 
cepts and  doctrines  of  Jesus  Christ,  without  the  repetition 
which  is  found  in  the  different  gospels.  His  mode  was 
to  cut  out  of  each  portions  which  by  being  connected  gave 
in  one  view  a  more  clear  and  complete  account,  than 
when  found  scattered  through  the  different  gospels,  and 
this  not  in  one  language,  but  in  Greek,  Latin,  French 
and  English.  He  always  speaks  of  Christ  as  one  of  the 
greatest  of  reformers  and  wisest  and  best  of  men,  and 
his  system  of  morals  as  the  most  pure  and  sublime  of  any 
ever  given  to  man.  His  religion  he  considers  to  be  pure 
deism.  The  worship,  purely  spiritual,  independant  of  all 
external  forms.  Never  was  a  death  more  serene  and 
happy  than  Mr.  J.'s.  Mrs.  R.  not  only  detailed  every 
particular  and  word  of  the  last  hours  of  his  life,  but  has 


3i6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

shown  me  the  last  lines  he  ever  wrote.  They  were  ad- 
dressed to  her,  written  during  his  last  illness,  when  every 
hope  of  life  was  fled, — entitled  "a  death-bed  adieu." 
He  put  them  in  her  hand  the  day  before  his  death,  say- 
ing with  a  placid  smile  and  tender  voice,  "that  is  for  you, 
my  daughter."  She  did  not  open  the  little  pocket-book 
in  which  they  were  enclosed  until  some  days  after  his 
death.  In  these  lines  which  are  in  verse  he  bids  her  not 
to  weep  at  an  event  which  would  crown  all  his  hopes, — 
that  his  last  pang  would  be  in  parting  from  her,  but  that 
he  would  carry  her  love  and  memory  to  the  two  happy 
spirits  (her  mother  and  sister)  who  were  waiting  to  re- 
ceive him. 


'  TO   MRS.   KIRKPATRICK 

August  ist,  1830.     Sidney. 

.  .  .  .  I  am  sorry  for  your  sake  Mr.  W.[irt]  did 
not  remain  in  B.  His  conversation  would  have  charmed 
you  as  much  as  his  oratory, — his  manners  in  the  domes- 
tic circle  have  a  charm  peculiar  to  himself.  The  last 
evening  I  passed  with  this  charming  family,  previous  to 
their  leaving  Washington,  he  appeared  in  a  more  amia- 
ble and  affecting  light  than  I  had  ever  seen  him.  He 
was  reclining  in  one  corner  of  a  sopha,  and  while  he  con- 
versed with  me  in  the  most  animated  manner,  he  would 
occasionally  turn  to  his  lovely  daughter,  whose  head  was 
leaning  on  his  shoulder,  and  who  with  playful  fondness 
was  patting  his  cheek,  or  twining  her  fingers  in  the  curls 
that  shaded  his  temples,  and  look  on  her  with  a  pride 
and  tenderness  words  could  not  have  expressed.  There 
is  a  great  deal  of  this  caressing  manner  between  him  and 
his  children;  they  seem  to  love  one  another,  as  compan- 


i83o]  JACKSON'S    IMBECILITIES  317 

ions  and  friends  of  the  same  age  love  each  other  and  yet 
without  any  dereliction  of  that  respect  which  accom- 
panies affection  for  a  parent.  In  truth  I  never  met  with 
a  family  like  them, — every  individual  bears  the  stamp  of 
genius — genius,  with  all  its  ardent  affections,  enthusi- 
asm and  eccentricity.  There  is  as  much  heart  as  there 
is  brain  in  their  composition;  were  it  otherwise,  one 
might  admire  without  loving  them.  Mrs.  Wirt  has  least, 
perhaps  none  from  nature,  but  she  could  not  live  30 
years  with  Mr.  W.  without  catching  some  portion  of  his 
powerful  and  glowing  genius.  She  is  a  woman  of  sound 
common  sense,  a  great  manager  and  economist  and  has 
made  Mr.  Wirt  the  useful  and  respectable  character  he 
now  is.  "Yes,"  said  an  old  friend,  who  was  giving  me 
the  family  history,  "all  he  now  is,  he  owes  to  his  wife."1 
Genius  is  too  often  a  meteor  that  dazzles  the  blind,  an 
ignis  fatuus  that  lures  to  danger,  instead  of  guiding  to 
safety.  Such,  in  his  youth,  it  proved  to  Mr.  W.  He 
was  an  almost  lost  and  ruined  man,  both  in  morals  and 
fortune,  when  he  married  the  excellent  wife,  whose  pru- 
dence and  affection  snatched  him  from  the  dangers  that 
surrounded  him  and  has  since  been  his  guard  and  sup- 
port. I  wish  she  had  accompanied  him  and  you  could 
have  become  acquainted  with  her.  Yet,  this  could  not 
have  been  done,  in  one  way,  not  in  many  interviews,  her 
disposition  is  too  reserved  to  allow  of  her  being  easily 
known.  I  never  heard  of  any  one  that  was  confidentially 
intimate  with  her,  or  indeed,  at  all  intimate,  yet  such  is 
the  sweetness  and  softness  of  her  manners,  that  she  con- 
ciliates affection  in  spite  of  her  coldness  and  reserve. 
She  is  wholly  devoted  to  her  husband  and  children, — to 

1  She  was  Elizabeth  Gamble,  second  daughter  of  Col.  Richard  Gamble,  a 
merchant  of  Richmond.  Wirt  was  a  widower  twenty-nine  years  old  when 
he  married  her  in  1802,  after  he  had  been  put  on  probation  for  a  period  by 
Col.  Gamble  before  he  would  give  his  consent. 


3i8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

live  in  them  and  for  them — and  does  not  disguise  her  in- 
difference to  all  other  things  and  persons,  so  that  with 
all  her  merit,  she  is  not  popular  in  general  society,  but 
is  proportionably  dear  to  the  few  to  whom  she  is  well 
known  and  to  whom  she  unveils  herself.  Lovely  as  her 
daughters  are,  I  often  fear  for  their  happiness;  they  are 
hot-house  plants,  that  will  never  bear  an  exposure  to  the 
cold  and  rude  air  of  common  life.  Their  health  seems 
as  fragile,  as  their  characters  are  delicate.  I  cannot 
reconcile  Mrs.  W.'s  artificial  and  refined  system  of  edu- 
cation, with  that  sound,  practical  common  sense,  which 
she  has  discovered  in  her  other  duties.     .... 


TO   MRS.    KIRKPATRICK 

August  29,  183 1,  Sidney. 

.  .  .  .  What  does  Lytleton  now  think  of  Genl. 
Jackson  ?  The  papers  do  not  exaggerate,  nay  do  not  de- 
tail one  half  of  his  imbecilities.  He  is  completely  under 
the  government  of  Mrs.  Eaton,  one  of  the  most  ambitious, 
violent,  malignant,  yet  silly  women  you  ever  heard  of. 
You  will  soon  see  the  recall  of  the  dutch  minister  an- 
nounced. Madm.  Huygen's  spirited  conduct  in  refusing 
to  visit  Mrs.  E.  is  undoubtedly  the  cause.  The  new  Cabi- 
net if  they  do  not  yield  to  the  President's  will  on  the 
point,  will,  it  is  supposed,  soon  be  dismissed.  Several  of 
them  in  order  to  avoid  this  dilemma,  are  determined  not 
to  keep  house  or  bring  on  their  families.  Therefore,  not 
keeping  house,  they  will  not  give  parties  and  may  thus 
avoid  the  disgrace  of  entertaining  the  favorite.  It  was 
hoped,  on  her  husband's  going  out  of  office,  she  would 
have  left  the  city,  but  she  will  not.    She  hopes  for  a  com- 


i83i]  JACKSON    IN    HIS    DOTAGE  319 

plete  triumph  and  is  not  satisfied  with  having  the  Cabinet 
broken  up  and  a  virtuous  and  intelligent  minister  recalled, 
and  many  of  our  best  citizens  frowned  upon  by  the  Presi- 
dent. Our  society  is  in  a  sad  state.  Intrigues  and  para- 
sites in  favour,  divisions  and  animosity  existing.  As  for 
ourselves,  we  keep  out  of  the  turmoil,  seldom  speak  and 
never  take  any  part  in  this  troublesome  and  shameful 
state  of  things.  Yet  no  one  can  deny,  that  the  P.'s  weak- 
ness originates  in  an  amiable  cause, — his  devoted  and 
ardent  friendship  for  Genl.  Eton.     .     .     . 


TO  MRS.  SAMUEL  BOYD 

Sidney,  August  29,  183 1. 

.  .  .  .  I  called  the  other  day  to  see  Mrs.  McClean, 
I  found  her  precisely  the  same  frank,  gay,  communica- 
tive woman  she  ever  was.  She  pulled  off  my  bonnet  that 
I  might  be  more  at  ease,  threw  herself  on  the  sofa  and 
made  me  lounge  by  her,  where  we  had  a  long  talk  about 
England,  viz.,  she  had,  while  I  listened,  well  pleased. 
She  mentioned  you  and  your  kind  invitation.  She  is 
evidently  very  much  elated  with  her  past  and  present 
dignity,  but  her  self-complacence  is  united  with  so  much 
good  humour  to  others,  that  it  is  not  offensive.  She  will 
have  as  difficult  a  part  to  play  in  society  as  her  husband 
will  in  office,  as  she,  as  well  as  he,  must  be  under  the 
influence,  I  was  going  to  say,  despotism  of  the  President's 
will.  And  altho'  I  sincerely  believe  him  to  be  a  warm, 
kind-hearted  old  man,  yet  so  passionate  and  obstinate, 
that  such  a  subserviency  must  be  very  galling  and  hard 
to  bear.  In  truth,  the  only  excuse  his  best  friends  can 
make  for  his  violence  and  imbecilities,  is,  that  he  is  in 


32o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Aug. 

his  dotage.  His  memory  is  so  frail,  that  he  can  scarcely 
remember  from  one  day  to  the  other  what  he  says  or 
what  he  does;1  but  while  his  mind  has  lost  its  vigour, 
his  passicfhs  retain  all  their  natural  force,  unrestrained 
by  the  only  power  that  ever  could  restrain  them,  his  good 
and  most  beloved  wife.  Van  Buren  stood  them  as  long 
as  he  could,  but  unable  to  govern  or  direct  judgment  so 
weak  and  passions  so  strong,  he  escaped  from  the  increas- 
ing difficulties  of  His  station,  and  most  kindly  and  disin- 
terestedly changed  places  with  his  friend.  Before  many 
months  are  over,  I  suspect  that  friend  will  not  thank 
him  for  his  disinterested  kindness.  It  is  said  the  gentle- 
men of  the  present  cabinet,  mean  to  act  in  strict  unison 
and  thus  by  their  united  power  oppose  all  injudicious, 
foolish  or  injurious  measures,  hoping  this  union  will 
make  their  power  irresistible,  but  I  suspect  the  secret, 
continually  applied  influence  of  Mrs.  E.  will  continue  to 
govern  and  direct  the  feelings  and  will  of  the  good  old 
man.  We  will  see.  Mrs.  E.  can  not  be  forced  or  per- 
suaded to  leave  Washington.  Her  triumph,  for  so  she 
calls  the  dissolution  of  the  cabinet,  her  triumph  she  says 
is  not  yet  complete.  All  her  adversaries  are  not  yet 
turned  out  of  office,  to  be  sure,  three  secretaries  and  a 
foreign  minister  are  dismissed,  but  Mr.  and  Mr.  and  Mr. 
remain,  they  too  must  go,  and  she  must  be  received  into 
society,  and  she  hopes  and  believes  that  next  winter  the 
present  Cabinet  ministers  will  open  their  doors  for  her. 
Mrs.  McClean  has  already  committed  herself  on  this 
point.  Previous  to  her  going  to  England,  when  on  a  visit 
here,  in  direct  violation  to  the  most  violent  asseverations 
previously  made,  she  visited  this  lady,  and  instantly  be- 
came a  great  favorite  with  the  Pres'd.  If  she  follows  up 
this  system,  she  will  doubtless  gain  great  influence  with 
1  Mrs.  Smith  was  never  more  mistaken  in  her  life. 


i83i]    MRS.    McLANE   AND    MRS.    EATON      321 

him,  but  will  lose  proportionately  in  society.  I  am  sorry 
she  so  committed  herself,  for  the  question  in  society  is 
not  so  much  about  Mrs.  E.,  as  the  principle,  whether  vice 
shall  be  countenanced.  And  she  has  placed  herself  in 
the  sad  predicament  of  acting  in  the  affirmative  to  this 
important  question.  Alas,  what  will  not  ambition  do 
with  the  very  best  of  us?  I  am  glad  I  have  not  been 
brought  to  the  trial,  for  when  I  see  such  a  high  minded 
woman  yield  to  its  delusive  power,  I  would  not  answer 
for  myself.  She  is  now  looking  for  a  house,  and  when 
one  is  found,  means  after  going  home,  to  return  next 
month  and  form  her  establishment.  Were  it  not  for  the 
E.  affair,  I  think  she  would  make  a  very  popular  lady- 
secretaress,  almost  as  much  so  as  dear,  good,  lovely,  and 
lamented  Mrs.  Porter.  Oh  how  every  one  loved  that 
woman!  I  do  not  anticipate  any  intimacy.  Our  hus- 
bands are  too  different  in  their  views  and  feelings,  and 
I  fear  she  and  I  will  be  equally  so.  Yet  she  is  a  charming 
woman  and  I  am  always  entertained  and  delighted  in 
her  society,  but  I  every  year  am  more  and  more  wearied 
from  the  world  of  fashion,  more  and  more  attached  to 
our  fire-side  circle.  My  ambition  is,  I  think,  conquered. 
I  have  philosophised  myself  out  of  its  enthralling 
power.  The  shifting  scenes  I  have  gazed  on  for  thirty 
years  have  convinced  me  of  the  emptiness  and  vanity, 
and  unsatisfactory  nature  of  the  honors  and  pleasures. 
What  changes  have  I  witnessed!  What  is  popularity, 
what  is  celebrity,  what  is  high  station  ?  Objects  of  pain- 
ful anxiety  in  pursuit,  of  dissatisfaction  and  disappoint- 
ment, when  attained,  and  when  lost,  empty  and  unsub- 
stantial as  a  dream.  Domestic  Life !  There  alone  is 
happiness.  I  have  tried  all  the  pleasures  of  the  gay  world 
and  never  found  any  half  as  satisfying  and  enduring  as 
these  I  have  enjoyed  in  my  solitary  chamber  with  my 


322  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Nov. 

books  and  pen.  Such  are  my  views  and  feelings  in  the 
country,  God  grant,  the  city  may  have  no  power  to 
change  them.  -Farewell  dear  Maria,  my  paper  admits 
not  of  another  line. 


TO   MRS.   KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  1831.     Novr.  7th,  Sunday  afternoon. 

.  .  .  .  But  how  changed  our  circle  since  the  first 
winter !  There  are  none  now  in  the  city,  Mrs.  Thornton, 
Seaton  and  Bomford  excepted,  that  we  care  one  half  as 
much  for  as  those  that  Genl.  Jackson  displaced.  We 
have  several  new  neighbours.  How  we  shall  like  them, 
time  must  determine.  An  Empress,  an  ex-Minister's 
widow  and  Mrs.  Secretary  McClean  are  among  these 
nearest  to  us.  Madame  Iturbide,  the  former  Empress 
of  Mexico,  is  close  to  us.  We  could,  were  we  so  inclined, 
almost  shake  hands  from  our  back  windows. 

Sister  Gertrude,1  the  nun,  who  last  spring  escaped  from 
the  convent  at  George  Town,  is  an 'inmate  of  her  family, 
in  fact,  an  adopted  daughter  and  has  the  whole  charge  of 
her  three  daughters.  Sister  Gertrude  I  knew  well  in 
her  childhood,  saw  now  and  then  through  the  convent 
grate  and  on  one  occasion  when  accidently  alone  with 
her,  offered  if  she  wished  to  leave  it,  to  communicate  her 
desire  to  her  relatives,  but  she  then  said  she  was  con- 
fined more  by  her  own  inclination,  than  by  her  vows,  or 
the  walls  that  surrounded  her.  I  shall  try  to  renew  our 
acquaintance. 

My  dear   Mrs.    Randolph,   has    removed    far   away, 

1  She  was  a  Miss  White,  of  Montgomery  Co.,  Md.  She  never  disclosed 
her  reasons  for  leaving  the  convent,  and  continued  to  attend  the  Catholic 
Church. 


Mrs.    William  Thornton. 

After  a  water-color  by  Dr.  Thornton  in  the  posses- 
sion of  J.  Henley  Smith,  Washington. 


i83i]  SISTER    GERTRUDE  323 

almost  to  George  Town, — quite  out  of  my  walking  capac- 
ity. She  has  been  absent  since  May,  but  is  daily  ex- 
pected back. 

With  the  exception  of  good  Mrs.  Newal's  family,  all 
my  other  neighbours  are  gayer  folks  than  we  have  any 
desire  to  be,  for  this  in  every  sense  of  the  word  is  the 
West  end  of  the  city.  Elizabeth  Wirt,  now  Mrs.  Edds- 
borough  arrived  a  few  days  since.  She  is  to  live  in  her 
father's  former  house,  and  I  suppose  some  of  the  family 
will  always  be  with  her.  Mrs.  Wirt  and  Catharine  ac- 
companied her.  We  called  yesterday,  the  Bride,  groom 
and  bridesmaid,  (viz.  Catherine)  were  all  in  deep  black, 
but  they  were  quite  gay  and  happy.  I  did  not  see  Mrs. 
Wirt.  She  had  been  so  much  agitated  by  meeting  her 
friend  Mrs.  Lear,  that  she  could  not  venture  to  see  any 
other  of  her  friends.  She  returned  yesterday  to  Balti- 
more. Mr.  Farley,  Catherine's  disappointed  lover,  lives 
in  a  house  exactly  opposite  to  Eddsbourough.  I  won- 
der if  such  close  neighbourhood,  will  not  reunite  the 
lovers.     .     .     . 


TO   MRS.    KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Friday,  Deer.  9th,  1831. 

.  How  little  did  I  imagine  when  I  closed  my  last  letter 
to  you  my  dearest  sister,  that  more  than  two  weeks 
would  pass  without  my  resuming  my  pen  and  commenc- 
ing the  journalizing  letter  I  promised.  But  so  it  is, — 
my  time  does  not  seem  at  my  own  command,  it  is  stolen 
from  me  by  the  force  of  circumstances,  yet — circumstan- 
ces so  insignificant  as  not  to  deserve  being  recorded.  My 
visiting  list  is  one  of  the  smallest  of  any  lady  in  Wash- 
ington,— yet  to  keep  up  an  interchange  with  only  70  or 


324  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

80  persons  consumes  almost  all  my  morning  hours.  One 
day  when  I  was  visiting  with  Mrs.  Porter  and  remarked 
incidentally  here  is  the  list  of  visits  I  owe,  at  least  50, 
"  Oh  how  happy  you  are,"  said  she,  "  only  look  at  mine, 
it  exceeds  500."  Now  this  does  not  appear  to  you  a  more 
silly  custom  than  it  does  to  me.  But  what  is  to  be  done  ? 
Why,  either  to  give  up  society,  or  conform  to  its  estab- 
lished customs,  at  least  partially  and  moderately  conform, 
and  that  is  all  I  do, — and  had  I  not  young  persons  in  the 

family,  I  really  would  give  it  up  and  live  .* 

Being  a  stormy  day  I  thought  I  should  write  without  in- 
terruption, but  two  have  occurred  since  I  began  writing, 
— one  a  poor  and  worthy  woman  with  whom  I  had  a  long 
talk,  the  last  one  of  the  most  amiable  and  agreeable 
young  men, — Lieut.  Farley,2  the  discarded  lover  of  Cath- 
arine Wirt.  He  is  handsome,  highly  informed,  in  fact 
an  intellectual  man  and  of  most  exemplary  morals. 
Catherine  is  here,  living  close  by  him,  and  is  said  to  be 
very  unhappy.  He  is  so  indignant  at  the  treatment  he  has 
received,  that  it  is  said  his  love  is  conquered  and  to  all 
appearance  he  is  as  happy  as  ever.  But  I  rather  think 
it  is  only  pride  gives  him  this  appearance. 

Our  good  friend  Mrs.  Clay  has  arrived.  Altho'  it 
was  a  snow  storm  the  day  after  her  arrival,  Ann  and  I 
hastened  to  welcome  her  back  and  sat  the  whole  of  a 
long  morning  with  her.  She  looks  ill  and  unhappy,  an^ 
much  cause  has  she,  poor  woman,  for  her  unhappiness. 
Her  two  eldest  sons  are  living  sorrows  to  her,  which  all 
who  have  had  the  trial,  say  are  the  most  difficult  afflic- 
tions to  bear.  One,  irreclaimably  dissipated,  the  other 
insane  and  confined  in  a  hospital.    Mr.  Clay  is  borne  up 

1  So  in  the  MS. 

2  John  Farley,  who  did  not  renew  his  suit  to  Miss  Wirt,  but  married  Anna 
Maria  Pearson  of  Washington.  He  resigned  from  the  Army  and  entered 
the  Coast  Survey. 


I 


i83i]  MRS.    SMITH'S    VISITS  325 

by  the  undying  spirit  of  ambition, — he  looks  well  and 
animated,  and  will  be  this  winter  in  his  very  element, — 
in  the  very  vortex  of  political  warfare.  With  his  un- 
rivaled and  surpassing  talents,  his  winning  and  irresistibly 
attractive  manners,  what  is  it  he  cannot  do?  We  shall 
see,  but  I  shall  think  it  strange  if  he  does  not  succeed 
in  all  his  aims.  He  has  been  received  with  marked  defer- 
ence and  respect,  and  altho'  the  President  of  the  Senate 
is  an  administration  man,  he  has  been  placed  on  some  of 
the  most  important  committees.  Mr.  Adams1  in  the 
lower  House  [receives]  still  more  marked  and  cordial 
attentions.  Judge  Wayne2  told  me  yesterday,  it  was 
really  gratifying  to  see  party-spirit  so  subjugated  to  a 
better  feeling, — that  every  day,  men  of  all  parties, 
crowded  round  him  to  testify  their  respect  and  good 
will. 

Govr.  Barbour  and  his  family  are  likewise  here.  We 
called  yesterday  to  see  them, — it  is  really  a  great  pleasure 
to  meet  those  with  whom  we  had  lived  so  cordially  and 
agreeably.  How  glad  I  should  be  to  get  all  our  old 
friends  back  again  and  not  to  feel  as  we  now  feel,  sur- 
rounded by  strangers, — with  hostile  feelings  or  absolute 
indifference.  Mrs.  McClane  sat  some  time  with  me 
yesterday,  poor  woman, — her  new  honors  are  not  without 
thorns,  and  she  feels  them  acutely. 

Mrs.  Livingston3  takes  the  lead  in  the  fashionable  world 
and  Mr.  L.  is  trying  to  take  the  lead  in  the  political. 
Neither  Mr.  or  Mrs.  McC.  are  people  who  will  willingly 
follow,  and  it  is  already  rumoured  that  much  conflict  and 
dissatisfaction  exists  in  the  Cabinet.     The  President  has 

1  John  Quincy  Adams  was  elected  a  Representative  in  1831  by  the  Anti- 
Mason  party. 

2  James  Moore  Wayne,   then   Representative  from  Georgia,   appointed 
Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  in  1835. 

3  She  was  Louise  D'Avezac,  the  widow  of  a  Jamaica  planter,  Moreau,  and 
had  married  Mr.  Livingston  in  New  Orleans  in  1805. 


326  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

had  a  nuptual  fete  in  his  family,  on  the  marriage  of  his 
adopted  son,  which  gave  rise  to  some  difficulties  respect- 
ing etiquette.  He,  (the  Presd.)  communicated  to  Mr. 
McC.  his  design  that  the  Secretary  of  State  should  always 
take  precedence  of  the  foreign  ministers  at  table,  but 
that  the  rest  of  the.  Cabinet  should  follow  the  foreign 
ministers.  Mr.  McC.  said  this  was  an  arrangement 
which  he  could  not  yield — that  in  the  Council  chamber  as 
the  Secretary  of  State  was  constitutionally  entitled  to  the 
first  seat  next  the  President,  he  had  no  hesitation  in 
yielding  it  to  him,  but  in  all  other  places,  he  claimed 
absolute  equality  and  could  not  yield  to  so  marked  a 
distinction  as  the  President  proposed,  that  he  con- 
sidered the  Cabinet  as  a  unit.  The  argument  was  car- 
ried on  some  time.  At  last  the  President  consented  that 
all  the  members  of  the  Cabinet  should  precede  the  for- 
eign ministers,  and  that  the  President  should  lead  Mrs. 
Livingston.  This  order  was  settled,  and  announced  by 
his  Private  Seer,  to  the  company.  On  learning  it,  the 
French  minister  urged  the  Dutch  minister,  as  the  oldest 
resident,  to  resist  such  an  innovation  and  to  maintain  the 
right  of  precedence  for  the  foreign  ministers.  Accord- 
ingly Mr.  Huggins,  remonstrated  with  the  Private  Seer, 
(the  company  all  standing,  dinner  having  been  an- 
nounced). The  Private  Seer,  communicated  the  diffi- 
culty to  the  President.  He  at  once,  good  humouredly 
said,  "Well,  I  will  lead  the  Bride,  it  is  a  family  fete, — so 
we  will  wave  all  difficulties,  and  the  company  will  please 
to  follow  as  heretofore." 

Now,  triffiing  as  this  affair  will  appear,  it  may  have 
serious  political  consequences.  The  Presd.  and  foreign 
ministers  are  dissatisfied  with  the  Seer,  of  the  Treasury, 
and  the  poor  man  is  not  of  a  temper  to  conciliate  dissatis- 
factions,— and  then  too,  the  Seer,  of  State  will  resent  the 


Dr.    William  Thornton. 

After  a  water-color  by  himself  in  the  possession  of 
J.  Henley  Smith,  Washington. 


i83i]      ANOTHER    BLOW-UP    PROBABLE        327 

resistance  made  to  the  honor  designed  him  by  the  Presi- 
dent, and  the  ill  will  thus  engendered  between  the  two 
first  members  of  the  Cabinet  will  doubtless  influence  their 
deliberations.  And  the  Presdt.  himself,  never  yet  could 
bear  opposition.  The  Bank  question  has  been  another 
point  of  controversy,  so  much  so,  that  joined  with  various 
little  matters,  a  member  of  congress  told  a  friend  of  ours, 
he  should  not  be  surprised  at  another  blow  up.  If  these 
details  do  not  amuse  you  and  the  girls,  I  am  sure  they 
will  Lytleton,  and  as  he  is  an  invalid,  I  should  be  glad  to 
make  him  smile  amidst  his  pains,  but  bid  him  remember 
they  are  very  confidential,  and  might  bring  me  in  a  scrape 
if  made  known,  for  folks  would  guess  his  informer.  Mrs. 
Eaton's  affair,  at  the  beginning,  was  but  a  spark,  but 
what  a  conflagration  did  it  cause. — Good  morning,  I  am 
called  to  dinner, — it  is  four  oclock,  and  my  fingers  are 
numbed, — the  ground  is  covered  with  our  fifth  fall  of 
snow  and  the  clouds  look  heavy  with  another, — what  a 
winter ! 

Saturday  morning.  I  had  just  seated  myself  by  the 
centre  table  in  the  parlour, — my  usual  seat,  and  taken  my 
pen  to  write  you  a  few  lines,  when  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Everet1 
came  in, — they  are  very  sensible,  agreeable  people,  but 
would  be  still  more  so  if  not  so  formal  and  precise.  Mrs. 
Van  Ransalear,  in  describing  Mrs.  E.  to  me  the  first 
winter  she  was  here,  said  the  gentlemen  called  her  a 
hoity-toity  woman.  In  our  formal  morning  visits,  I  have 
seen  nothing  of  this  kind,  she  is  the  perfect  lady,  in  ap- 
pearance and  manners,  without  pretensions  of  any  kind. 
The  girls  sit  of  a  morning  in  the  dining  room,  which 
opens  from  this,  where  they  read  and  sew  together,  sel- 
dom coming  in  to  receive  company,  unless  it  is  some  one 
whom  they  particularly  wish  to  see,  with  the  exception  of 

1  Edward  Everett  was  then  serving  in  the  House. 


328  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

Julia,  however,  who  always  sits  by  me.  After  dinner  and 
through  the  evening,  all  the  girls  come  into  the  parlour 
and  Mr.  Smith  and  Bayard  sit  and  read  and  write  in  the 
dining  room.  When  we  are  alone,  which  is  seldom  the 
case,  one  of  us  reads  aloud  and  the  others  sew,  but  few 
evenings  pass  without  one,  two  or  more  visitors,  and 
then  chess,  musick,  back  gammon  &c.  take  the  place  of 
books  and  work.  Last  evening  it  was  such  bad  weather, 
that  we  were  certain  of  being  alone  and  were  comfortably 
seated  with  our  books  and  work,  when  the  bell  rung  and 
Mrs.  Gurley  and  Mr.  Colton,  (a  young  clergyman)  came 
in.  She  had  brought  her  work,  and  Mr.  C.  wanted  to 
play  chess  with  me ;  so  our  circle  was  enlarged,  without 
putting  aside  our  work.  Mr.  Gurley,1  (the  model  of  my 
Sidney  Jones) and  Secretary  to  the  Colonization  Society  is 
a  most  interesting  man ;  in  his  books,  a  hero  of  romance ; 
in  his  temper  and  life,  one  of  the  most  perfect  Christians 
I  ever  knew.  He  is  our  near  neighbour  and  were  he  not 
so  constantly  and  laboriously  engaged  would  be  a  fre- 
quent visitor,  for  he  seems  to  like  us  as  much  as  we  like 
him.  His  wife  is  very  young,  very  beautiful  and  in- 
genuous and  simple  as  a  child, — not  much  mental  strength 
or  improvement  but  truly  lovable.  Mr.  Colton  is  a  so-so 
Yankee,  a  chaplain  in  the  navy.  Last  night  they  staid 
until  eleven,  but  at  9  oclock  I,  as  usual,  slipped  out  of  the 
room  with  my  Sue  and  went  to  our  room,  for  she  sleeps 
in  my  chamber.  She  has  been  so  well  for  some  weeks 
past,  that  when  amused,  she  has  generally  sat  up  as 
late  as  the  family.  She  is  much  better  than  I  expected 
or  even  hoped.  If  the  cough  would  yield,  I  should  be 
quite  easy,  as  in  other  respects  she  is  better  than  she 
was  last  winter.  She  does  not  like  to  be  treated  as  an 
invalid,  and  will  not  let  me  have  any  little  delicacy  pre- 
1  Ralph  Randolph  Gurley,  a  Presbyterian,  one  of  the  founders  of  Liberia. 


i83i]  MR.  AND    MRS.  GURLEY  329 

pared  exclusively  for  her  and  when  I  make  jelly  or 
blanc  mange,  will  not  eat  it  unless  all  the  family  partake 
of  it.  Never  did  I  know  any  one  so  little  selfish.  She 
gets  wearied  of  sitting  up  and  sewing  and  to  lie  down  on 
a  sopha  and  read  is  the  only  indulgence  she  allows  her- 
self, and  reproaches  herself  with  laziness  for  doing  that. 
She  has  a  small  bed  at  the  foot  of  mine,  enclosed  in  a 
screen.  She  drinks  red  pepper  tea  through  the  day  and 
takes  the  syrup  of  squads  mixed  with  paragoric  at  night, 
and  always  carries  a  box  of  hoarhound  candy  or  jujube 
of  which  she  uses  a  great  deal.  I  at  times  can  scarcely 
believe  she  is  the  subject  of  a  dangerous  disease.  Surely 
of  all  the  diseases  that  assail  the  human  frame,  this  is 
the  most  easy,  as  it  is  the  most  insidious, — no  pain,  no 
uncomfortable  feelings,  for  the  slight  and  occasional 
fever  is  pleasant  and  exhilerating.  Is  it  possible  it  is 
undermining  life?  I  cannot  at  times  realize  it.  My 
hopes  of  her  recovery  are  much  strengthened  of  late, — 
at  least  of  the  continuance  of  life  for  many  years.  I  have 
heard  of  so  many  similar  cases,  where  the  patient  lived 
for  10,  15,  20  years. 

Ann  has  gone  out  this  morning  on  her  society  duties, 
to  distribute  clothes  to  the  poor.  We  have  several  fam- 
ilies under  our  care  in  whom  we  take  peculiar  interest. 
Good  Mrs.  Brush  and  her  grand  daughter,  is  the  one  that 
we  most  care  for.  In  her  old  age,  she  is  totally  depend- 
ant on  her  friends  for  support,  being  disabled  by  sickness 
as  well  as  old  age  from  doing  anything  for  herself.  So 
humble,  so  pious,  so  cheerful,  so  contented, — I  never  saw 
such  a  sufferer.  Her  life  is  an  eloquent  sermon,  it  is 
practical  Christianity.  Through  how  many  hours  of  ill- 
ness has  she  attended  me!     And  Mrs.  Lawyer  Jones1 

1  Wife  of  Walter  Jones  who  was  a  leader  of  the  District  bar  for  many 
years. 


33o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

and  Mrs.  Seaton,  she  was  with  the  latter  at  the  suc- 
cessive deaths  of  five  children,  and  she  endeared  herself 
to  us  all.  So  you  may  believe  in  her  helplessness,  she 
wants  for  no  comfort.  Another  interesting  sufferer  is 
an  old  English  woman,  84  years  old,  without  a  single 
acquaintance  or  relation  on  whom  she  has  any  claim,  ex- 
cepting such  as  humanity  supplies.  She  is  a  mysterious 
personage,  a  woman  of  fine  education  and  delicate  ap- 
pearance,— report  says,  the  daughter  of  a  nobleman,  who 
eloped  in  early  life  with  a  husband  of  inferior  birth. 
Last  week  when  I  visited  her,  she  was  in  such  a  dread- 
fully nervous  state,  that  all  the  usual  remedies  failed; 
after  administering  laudanum  and  ether,  ineffectually,  I 
at  last  forced  her  to  lie  down,  and  succeeded  in  keeping 
her  in  bed,  and  finally  soothed  her  into  tranquillity  by 
reading, — at  first  I  tried  the  Bible,  but  that  had  not  that 
continuity  of  subject  that  fixed  the  thoughts, — she  said 
she  loved  poetry  and  that  Pope  was  her  favorite,  so  I 
sent  to  my  friend  Mr.  King,  who  lived  near,  and  had 
recommended  Mrs.  de  la  Plane  to  my  care,  for  a  vol  and 
read  three  books  of  the  Essay  on  Man.  This  lulled  and 
composed  her.  Often  she  exclaimed,  How  beautiful, 
how  true,  how  sublime !  When  I  read  the  line,  the  pur- 
port of  which  was,  "He  reasons  best,  who  can  his  soul 
submit."  "Oh,"  said  she,  "that  I  could  submit,  then 
all  would  be  easy,  would  be  right!"  In  the  evening 
Mr.  King  called  to  make  enquiries.  "Did  you  not 
think  me  crazy,"  said  I,  "when  I  sent  for  a  vol  of 
Pope  for  a  poor  woman?"  "Almost,"  said  he  laugh- 
ing, "at  least,  thought  I  to  myself,  nobody  but  Mrs.  Smith 
would  think  of  such  a  thing!"  "Extraordinary  cases 
require  extraordinary  remedies."  "True,"  he  replied, 
"and  yours  by  its  success  proves  it  was  judicious."  I 
acted  from  experience,  for  often  and  often,  when  every- 


i83i]         AN    INTERESTING    SUFFERER  331 

thing  else  has  failed,  I  have  been  relieved  from  dreadful 
nervous  attacks  by  poetry.  "Saul  was  relieved  by 
musick,"  observed  Mr.  King.  These  nerves a  car- 
riage  It  was  Cornelia  Barbour,  daughter  of  Govr.  B. 

late  minister  to  England.  Her  mother  and  father  are 
confined  to  the  house  by  influenza,  but  I  doubt  not  he 
will  find  his  voice  to  make  a  long  speech  in  the  Conven- 
tion. I  bade  Cornelia,  exert  her  eloquence  and  the 
power  of  her  charms  to  get  Mr.  Clay  chosen.  Oh,  how 
glad  should  I  be  to  have  old  friends  back  again!  Cor- 
nelia was  as  gay,  charming  and  carressing  as  ever,  she 
hugged  and  kissed  us  heartily.  As  she  went,  my  friend 
Wood  came  in,  his  wife  is  worse.  He  brought  me  the 
lines  I  had  given  him,  (for  I  let  him  have  whatever  I 
write,  he  takes  such  a  lively  interest  in  my  pen-work) 
which  I  hastily  wrote  for  Louisa  Bomford-Leay, — I  mean 
one  evening  she  was  here,  to  a  little  party  Anna  Maria 
gave  her.  The  bridal  cake  was  crowned  with  a  pair  of 
doves  (in  sugar)  This  device  suggested  the  lines  which 
I  hastily  wrote  and  twisting  the  paper  with  some  roses, 
suspended  it  from  the  united  bills  of  the  doves.  The 
cake  was  first  carried  to  Louisa.  I  stood  near  and  told 
her  the  doves  had  a  message  for  her, — she  disengaged 
the  billet-deux  and  found  these  lines : 

Gentle  Doves,  fly,  fly  away 
Swift,  to  the  lovely  Bride  convey, 
Love's  own  emblem  in  this  flower, 
To  bloom  in  her  domestic  bower. 
Her  joys  be  like  the  winter  rose, 
Blooming  'till  life's  last  season  close. 

The  Bride  and  company  professed  themselves  charmed 

with  the  compliment,  which  at  least  was  something  new. 

The  morning  is  over,  dinner  is  ready.     I  have  found 

so  much  pleasure  in  thus  chatting  with  you  that  my  work 


332  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

and  book  have  remained  untouched.  Another  week  too 
has  closed.  Closed  after  7  days  of  cheerfulness  and 
peace,  be  grateful  my  heart  for  so  many  mercies.  Dear 
sister  adieu  until  next  week. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Thursday,  15  Deer.  1831. 

.  .  .  .  Mrs.  Clay  just  calls.  It  is  really  impos- 
sible to  get  this  letter  finished.  I  promised  to  go  out 
with  her,  so  adieu. 

Friday  morning.  17th.  The  morning  was  so  ex- 
cessively cold  yesterday,  that  I  did  not  dream  of  any 
one's  going  out  that  could  stay  at  home,  and  had  seated 
myself  to  write  to  you,  as  I  thought  for  the  whole 
morning,  when  Mrs.  C.  came  to  claim  my  promise  of 
making  a  course. of  morning  visits.  I  did  not  find  it  so 
cold  out  as  in  the  house  and  was  on  the  whole  better 
for  my  ride.  Altho  there  is  no  probability  of  Mr.  C.'s 
being  chosen  President,1  yet  the  enthusiasm  and  unani- 
mity with  which  he  was  chosen  as  a  candidate  by  the  con- 
vention could  not  but  be  gratifying.  Mrs.  C.  has  been 
quite  sick ;  the  first  day  she  left  the  house,  she  came  and 
sat  most  part  of  the  morning  with  us  and  asked  Ann  to 
go  with  her  to  choose  a  bonnet  &c  for  she  seems  to  con- 
sider us  as  relatives.  Wherever  she  went  yesterday 
she  was  received  with  demontrations  of  affection;  the 
fact  is  tho'  a  very  plain  and  unadmired  woman  either  in 
mind  or  manners,  she  is  so  kind,  good,  and  above  all, 
discreet,  that  I  do  not  think  during  the  many  years  she 
lived  here  she  ever  made  an  enemy,  tho'  she  was  not 
as  popular  and  admired  as  other  ladies  have  been.  .  . 
1  He  was  now  in  the  Senate. 


i83i]  MR.    CALHOUN'S    FACE  333 

FROM  MISS  SEDGWICK1 

New  York  i  March  1832. 

.  .  .  .  My  dear  Mrs.  Smith  I  fear  that  while  I 
was  in  your  city  I  must  have  appeared  to  you  very  cold 
and  unmoved  by  your  cordial  and  constant  kindness.  I 
was  not  so.  I  saw  so  much  that  was  new  to  me,  had  so 
many  new  subjects  of  curiosity  and  interest  opened  upon 
me,  that  I  was  the  passive  recipient  of  a  multitude  of 
impressions,  without  being  able  on  my  part  to  make  any 
demonstrations  of  feeling.  I  assure  you  I  brought  with 
me  and  shall  retain  a  deep  sense  of  your  cordiality  and 
effective  benevolence  towards  me.  I  have  had  much 
pleasure  in  reading  your  parting  gift.  You  have  de- 
lineated very  common  infirmities  in  our  society  in  a 
natural  and  unoffending  manner.  It  is  a  great  matter  to 
avoid  alarming  the  pride  of  the  class  you  would  mend. 
Of  all  writers  the  moral  writer  has  the  most  difficult 
task.  The  religious  teacher  comes  forth  invested  with 
authority  and  armed  with  panoply  divine,  but  he  who 
would  shoot  folly  as  it  flies  rushes  amidst  a  hostile  army, 
and  for  the  innocent  brush  he  has  given,  may  receive  a 
cloud  of  arrows  dipped  in  gall.  I  some  times  think  with 
Moliere  who  says  somewhere  in  two  very  pithy  lines, 
that  there  is  no  folly  equal  to  his  who  attempts  to  mend 
the  world.  And  yet  the  best  of  every  age  from  the 
Divine  Author  of  our  religion  down  to  the  humblest  but 
sincere  follower  have  been  engaged  in  this  mending 
work.  Then  let  us  believe  it  a  noble  one  and  do  not 
you,  my  dear  Mrs.  Smith,  be  faint  hearted  in  it.     .     .     . 

Mr.  Calhoun's  pamphlet  has  here,2  as  I  presume  every 

1  Catherine  Maria  Sedgwick  wrote  a  number  of  successful  novels  and 
sketches,  one  of  which  "Redwood"  (1824)  being  published  anonymously 
was  translated  into  French  and  attributed  to  J.  Fenimore  Cooper. 

2  In  reply  to  General  Jackson's  charges  in  the  Seminole  affair. 


334  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Sept. 

where,  produced  a  great  sensation.  I  am  not  addicted 
to  political  reading  but  the  atmosphere  of  Washington 
was  still  about  me,  for  to  tell  the  honest  truth  I  believe 
it  was  the  light  of  Mr.  Calhoun's  splendid  eye  still  lin- 
gering in  my  imagination,  and  I  read  this  with  interest 
or  at  least  I'll  swear  to  every  word  of  Mr.  C.'s  letters. 
They  are  written  with  the  pen  and  spirit  of  a  true 
gentleman,  a  spirit  of  rectitude,  delicacy  and  refinement, 
and  I  trust  he  will  break  the  net  his  enemies  have  been 
weaving  around  him.  The  impressions  of  the  un- 
prejudiced seem  to  me  to  be  all  in,  his  favor,  and  it  is  the 
few  and  not  the  mass,  in  our  part  of  the  country,  who 
look  thro'  the  witching  glass  of  party  darkly.  Mr.  C.'s 
face  charmed  me,  it  is  stamped  with  nature's  aristocracy, 
and  with  honest  Caleb  I  am  a  thorough  believer  in 
"visnomy."  But  are  we  not  a  happy  people  to  be  sit- 
ting by  our  parlor  fire-sides  and  getting  up  an  agitation 
with  such  topics  when  the  nations  of  Europe  are  about 
to  pour  their  blood  like  water  and  tears  like  rain  for 
political  existence?     .       .     . 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Monday,  September  3rd  1832. 
[Sidney] 

Summer  has  gone !  It  departed  in  a  violent  storm 
and  autumn  commenced  with  weather  almost  as  cold  as  it 
concludes.  It  is  a  rainy,  a  right  down  rainy  day,  such 
as  I  love.  Seated  by  my  window  looking  out  on  the 
beautiful  hills  and  on  the  close  surrounding  trees,  listen- 
ing to  the  pattering  of  the  rain  and  watching  the  waving 
of  the  boughs  in  the  wind,  I  could  truly  enjoy  this  aspect 
of  nature,  were  it  not  for  the  thought  of  the  hundreds 
and  hundreds  of  my  fellow  citizens  who  must  suffer,  alas, 


is32]       PESTILENCE    IN    WASHINGTON         335 

fatally  suffer  from  exposure  to  this  weather.  Since  the 
hard  rain  on  Friday  and  the  cold  which  succeeded  it, 
many  poor  creatures  have  perished  with  the  cholera. 
Although  it  is  two  weeks  since  it  made  its  appearance 
in  the  central  part  of  the  city,  not  a  case  had  occurred  in 
the  eastern  or  western  extremeties.  About  the  middle 
of  last  week  a  number  of  cases  appeared  in  the  western 
part,  viz.  near  Georgetown,  in  the  vicinity  of  Rock 
Creek,  the  mouth  of  the  Tiber  and  the  canal, — all  around 
our  friend  Dr.  Sim.  He  spent  the  day  with  us  yester- 
day and  went  with  us  to  Rock  Creek  church.  When  he 
left  the  city  there  were  within  his  knowledge  eleven 
lying  dead  and  five  or  six  who  must  die  in  the  course  of 
the  day,  in  that  part  of  the  city.  We  found  the  hearse 
in  the  church  yard,  and  persons  digging  the  grave  of  an 
old  neighbor,  but  late  resident  in  the  city.  On  Satur- 
day morning  after  eating  a  hearty  breakfast  she  was 
taken  ill  and  at  4  oclock  in  the  afternoon  was  dead.  Al- 
though our  city  has  none  of  the  narrow  streets  and  alleys 
and  filthy  wharves,  etc.,  of  a  commercial  city  and  of  a 
dense  population,  it  has  other  local  circumstances  as 
unfavorable  to  health  and  as  prolific  in  cases  of  disease 
peculiar  to  itself.  This  season  especially,  several  large 
public  works  are  going  on — The  Canal,  the  McAdamiz- 
ing  Pennsylvania  Avenue,  and  the  opening  the  ground 
for  the  conveyance  of  water ;  the  latter  of  which  requires 
digging  for  miles  and  through  hills,  as  the  source  of  the 
water  is  distant  and  far  below  the  level  of  the  reservoir 
on  Capitol  hill.  It  is  a  great  work,  which  added  to  the 
others,  has  drawn  to  the  city  at  least  a  thousand  laborers, 
in  addition  to  our  own,  most  of  them  Irish.  Board- 
ing as  they  must  among  our  poorest  citizens,  they  are 
crowded  into  wretched  cabins,  where  in  some  cases  they 
have  been  found  without  bedding,  seats  or  tables, — lit- 


336  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Sept. 

erally  lying,  sitting  and  eating  on  the  floor,  so  closely 
packed  that  they  had  only  room  to  stretch  themselves 
out;  this  is  the  worst,  but  others  are  not  much  better 
off.  Thus  are  they  lodged  at  night  after,  being  exposed 
all  day  to  the  open  air.  Bayard  says  it  makes  his  heart 
ache  as  he  goes  along  the  avenue,  to  see  the  poor  crea- 
tures sitting  on  piles  of  stones  in  the  burning  heat  of 
the  noon  day  sun,  after  having  been  exposed  to  the  cold 
fogs  of  the  morning,  their  heads  sunken  on  their  bosoms, 
their  eyes  never  raised  to  the  passers  by,  looking  so  sad 
and  diconsolate.  For  how  can  they  be  otherwise, 
strangers  as  they  are,  working  in  the  midst  of  disease, 
in  continual  apprehension  of  its  attack,  and  without  any 
hope  beyond  that  of  being,  when  attacked,  thrown  in  a 
cart  and  carried  to  a  Hospital,  which  they  fear  as  they 
fear  the  grave  itself  ?  So  averse  are  the  poor  generally 
and  they  in  particular  to  going  there,  that  they  conceal 
the  first  symptoms,  so  that  when  the  last  stage  comes  on, 
it  is  commonly  fatal.  Even  then,  they  are  carried  by 
force,  for  voluntarily  they  will  not  go.  Last  week  about 
400  Swiss  citizens  arrived  in  the  city;  not  being  able  to 
find  better  employment,  they  were  obliged  to  go  to 
cracking  stones  on  the  avenue.  Poor  souls,  when  I  think 
of  the  hopes  that  led  them  from  their  far  off  country, 
across  the  wide  Atlantic,  and  the  dreadful  reverse  they 
have  met  with,  my  heart  bleeds  for  them.  The  popula- 
tion of  our  city  is  made  up  of  individuals  from  all  parts 
of  America, — I  was  going  to  say  the  world,  for  we  have 
a  great  many  foreigners,  all,  in  some  way  or  another, 
dependent  on  the  government  and  changing  with  the 
changing  administrations,  each  family  standing  as  it 
were  by  itself  and  caring  only  for  itself,  unconnected  by 
any  of  these  ties  of  common  interest,  which  unite  the 
permanent  inhabitants  of  other  cities,  and  without  the 


183a]  CURES    BY   BLEEDING  337 

bonds  of  kindred,  long  acquaintanceship  or  connections 
which  form  the  cement  of  society,  destitute  of  that  pride 
of  citizenship,  that  love  of  country,  that  home  feeling, 
which  stimulates  the  people  of  other  cities,  to  make  exer- 
tions and  sacrifices  for  the  common  good.  Now,  when 
assailed  by  a  common  calamity,  each  individual  thinks 
only  of  his  own  security.  Efforts  are  making  to  awaken 
public  sympathy,  to  arouse  the  principle  of  humanity. 
As  yet  the  disease  has  attacked  only  the  poor  foreigners, 
labourers  and  blacks.  When  it  reaches  a  more  respect- 
able class,  it  will  doubtless  awaken  a  deeper  interest  and 
livelier  sympathy.  But  we  have  no  funds,  and  the  ad- 
ministrators of  the  general  government  do  not  feel  at 
liberty  to  apply  public  money  to  the  present  necessities 
of  the  city.  Our  papers  will  give  little  information  as  to 
the  prevalence  of  the  disease.  No  regular  reports  are 
made  by  physicians  and  cannot  be  of  interments,  when 
the  poor  and  the  blacks  can  without  expense  or  trouble 
bury  their  own  dead  in  the  commons. 

Friday  evening,  Sept.  7 The  disease  is 

increasing  and  spreading  to  all  parts  of  the  city,  but  the 
proportions  of  deaths  have  greatly  decreased.  The  sys- 
tem of  depletion  has  been  found  very  successful, — bleed- 
ing and  calomel,  the  chief  agents.  No  stimulants  what- 
ever. He  [Dr.  Sim]  brought  me  a  lancet  to-day  and 
gave  me  instructions  how  to  use  it.  Of  course,  only  in 
cases  where  medical  aid  could  not  be  procured  and  the 
risque  of  not  bleeding  was  greater  than  its  being  done  by 
me.  I  know  not  whether  in  any  case  I  could  muster 
courage,  but  it  will  do  no  harm  to  have  the  lancet.  He 
told  us  of  some  wonderful  cases  affected  by  bleeding  and 
calomel,  the  doses,  immense.  It  is  dark  and  I  must 
finish  this  tomorrow  morning. 

Saturday  morning,  8th.     I  feel  this  morning,  to  use 


338  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Sept. 

a  very  vulgar,  but  very  expressive  comparison,  as  limber 
as  a  wet  rag  and  as  tremulous  as  an  aspen.  For  not 
only  all  day  and  every  day  are  our  nerves  thus  excited, 
but  often  at  night 

Bayard,  by  Dr.  Sim's  express  direction,  left  the  city 
on  Tuesday  and  is  now  with  us.  The  cholera  was  all 
around  him  and  no  longer  confined  to  the  intemperate 
and  the  poor,  but  extending  to  those  of  regular  habits 
and  comfortable  circumstances.  It  is  now  for  my  dear 
husband  only  that  I  have  to  fear  and  tremble.  Several 
cases  have  occurred  near  the  Bank.  If  tranquillity  of 
mind  is  a  preservation,  he  will  be  safe,  for  never  did  I 
see  him  more  calm  and  firm.  He  goes  into  the  city 
every  day,  rain  or  sunshine,  and  does  not  come  home 
until  four  oclock.  While  in  the  city  he  keeps  in  his  own 
room.  Poor  William  who  drives  him  in  is  dreadfully 
afraid,  and  no  wonder,  as  the  disease  is  so  fatal  to  the 
blacks.  I  suppose  three  times  as  many  are  victims  to  it 
as  whites;  they  and  the  foreigners,  Irish  and  Swiss  are 
its  peculiar  mark.  I  know  not  whether  you  remember 
Brown,  whose  family  Mr.  Smith  bought  and  whose 
daughter  died  that  August  you  were  here.  He  died 
after  a  few  hours  illness,  and  his  son  who  attended  on 
and  buried  him,  came  out  directly  afterwards  to  us.  He 
was  not  well,  I  gave  him  medicine  and  he  is  now  free 
from  complaint.  All  our  black  people  are  very  much 
down-cast,  particularly  Priscilla,  having  among  the  vic- 
tims to  this  pestilence  lost  several  friends.  I  do  all  I 
can  to  cheer  them,  for  which  they  are  very  grateful. 
As  long  as  this  north-west  wind  blows,  our  neighbors 
think  we  are  secure,  but  fear  a  southern  wind  would 
bring  it  into  the  country 

What  may  almost  be  called  a  revival,  prevails  among 
them.     Great  attention  to  religion  is  awakened,  num- 


i83a]  A    RELIGIOUS    AWAKENING  339 

bers  have,  or  are  to  join  the  church  next  Sabbath  and  I 
sincerely  hope  a  great  and  permanent  reform  will  take 
place  among  our  poor  labouring  class.  You  will  see 
in  the  National  Intelligencer,  (which  I  believe  Lytleton 
takes)  notice  of  Mr.  Colton's  attendance  in  the  hospitals. 
He  really  does  seem  like  another  Apostle.  He  has  a 
wonderful  influence  in  the  city,  although  it  is  but  5  or 
6  months  since  he  took  Mr.  John's  place  in  Trinity 
church.  He  has  warmed  all  his  congregation  with  his 
own  zeal  for  the  present  sufferers.  The  ladies  have 
formed  themselves  into  societies,  some  to  make  up 
clothes  for  the  poor,  sick,  some  to  prepare  the  food  for 
them  and  others  to  take  charge  of  orphans.  The  two 
Miss  Tayloes,  hitherto  the  gayest  of  the  gay,  most  fash- 
ionable and  world-devoted  among  our  young  ladies,  are 
said  to  have  become  very  serious  under  his  preaching, 
and  will  most  probably  join  the  church.  He  is  a  delight- 
ful preacher.  I  shall  try  and  make  his  acquaintance  if 
we  live  to  meet  next  winter.  But  he  looks  as  if  he  would 
not  last  so  long.  Consumption  seems  to  have  marked  him 
for  her  own.  His  voice  is  sepulchral,  and  very,  very 
solemn.  Last  week  he  preached  three  times  at  Rock- 
Creek,  without  neglecting  his  weekly  and  Sabbath  ser- 
vices in  the  city,  and  since  has  been  continually  occupied 
in  visiting  and  comforting  the  sick.  I  cannot  hear  a 
word  of  our  minister's  being  thus  engaged.  His  wife  is 
a  sickly-timid  woman,  and  I  fear  will  use  her  influence  to 
keep  him  back  from  this  trying  duty.  The  spirit  of 
benevolence  during  this  past  week  has  been  completely 
aroused  in  the  city  and  is  in  active  exercise.     I  feel  my 

present  uselessness  and  inactivity  painfully 

Monday  morning.  Yesterday  we  had  an  overflowing 
congregation.  Old  Rock-Creek  was  crowded.  The 
circumstances    were    solemn    and    affecting.     A    great 


340  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Dec. 

many  young  persons  joined  the  church,  with  ceremoni- 
ous not  usual  in  the  Episcopalian  church.  Quite  Meth- 
odistical.  Dr.  Sim,  did  not  accompany  us,  but  came  dur- 
ing the  service  and  the  girls  all  rode  home  with  him,  in 
his  carriage.  No  doubt,  most  of  the  neighbors,  think 
they  are  married.  He  could  not  pass  the  day, — some  of 
his  patients  were  to  ill  to  spare  him  so  long.  The  disease 
continues  rapidly  to  extend  and  increase  but  has  become 
so  manageable  that  not  many  deaths  occur.  My  fine  col- 
lection of  stimulants  of  all  kinds,  set  out  in  order  on  my 
mantle  piece,  bundles  of  linen  &c.,  &c,  are  pronounced 
worse  than  useless. 


TO  MISS  ANNA  MARIA  H.  SMITH 

[Washington]  Saturday  morning,  15th  Deer.  1832. 
.  .  .  .  What  do  you  think  of  Septemea's  having 
become  a  Catholick?  It  is  even  so  and  I  believe  she 
will  soon  publicly  join  that  church.  Mary  Ann  Gra- 
ham has  done  so,  likewise  Jeanette  Hart,  and  Mrs. 
Tucker  told  us  Mrs.  Hall  too,  but  I  have  heard  it  from 
no  one  else.  Mr.  Pise1  is  carrying  all  before  him.  His 
zeal,  his  eloquence  and  his  personal  beauty  combine  to 
give  him  an  influence  no  priest  has  before  had  amongst 
us.  When  he  preaches,  the  church  is  so  crowded,  that 
not  only  the  seats  but  the  isles  are  crowded.  You  will 
have  seen  by  the  papers  that  he  is  chosen  chaplain  to  the 
Senate.  Mr.  Poindexter  who  called  here  yesterday, 
said  the  motive  was  to  show  the  universal  toleration  of 
our  government.  Mr.  Palfrey  has  been  to  see  us,  but 
our  own  clergyman  Mr.  Smith  has  not  been  inside  our 

1  Charles  Constantine  Pise,  a  Catholic  priest  of  great  renown  in  his  day. 
He  was  a  friend  of  Henry  Clay,  who  secured  his  appointment  as  chaplain 
to  the  Senate.     He  is  the  only  Catholic  who  ever  held  the  post. 


1 83  2]         CALHOUN    A    TRUE    PATRIOT  341 

door  since  we  came  to  town.  He  visits  no  one  and  his 
sermons  are  growing  more  and  more  metaphysical  and 
political  and  becoming  more  and  more  a  mere  student. 
When  Mrs.  McComb1  came  to  the  Dorcas  Society  the 
other  day,  she  took  the  same  occasion  to  pay  me  a  long 
visit,  and  I  liked  her  better  than  usual.  I  see  very  little 
of  Mrs.  Thornton.  It  is  now  ten  days  since  I  have  been 
there,  the  weather  and  my  pen  engagements  have  pre- 
vented my  going  out,  except  to  see  sick  neighbours.  Mr. 
King  was  here  last  night  and  had  a  long  talk  with  Ann, 
on  religious  subjects.  The  room  was  so  warm  that  my 
head  turned,  I  was  dull  and  could  not  entertain  him, 
being  more  inclined  to  go  to  sleep. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  Christmas,  1832. 

.  .  .  .  The  ambition  some  felt  for  its  honors 
exists  no  longer,  and  this  was  one  of  the  strongest  stimu- 
lants to  activity  and  exertion  I  ever  felt.  But  a  life  in 
Washington  cures  one  of  ambition  for  honors  and  dis- 
tinctions, by  exhibiting  them  in  all  their  vanity,  instabil- 
ity, and  transitoriness,  and  unveiling  at  the  same  time  all 
the  pains  and  some  vexations  appertaining  to  them.  I 
wonder  if  Mr.  Clay  realizes  these  things  and  can  learn 
to  be  content  with  the  portion  he  possesses.  Were  we  to 
have  a  peep  into  his  bosom  what  a  lesson  we  should 
learn.  And  Mr.  Calhoun,2  will  his  high  soarings  end 
in  disappointment  and  humiliation  or  be  drowned  in 
blood?     However  he  may  now  err,  he  is  one  of  the 

1  Wife  of  Major  General  Alexander  Macomb,  commanding  the  army. 

2  He  was  in  the  midst  of  his  efforts  to  apply  the  nullification  theory. 


342        •         WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

noblest  and  most  generous  spirits  I  have  ever  met  with. 
I  am  certain  he  is  deceived  himself,  and  believes  he  is 
now  fulfilling  the  duty  of  a  true  patriot.  What  a  happy 
nation  we  were!  Alas,  and  may  we  not  write,  we  are? 
The  impending  political  storm,  as  you  may  easily  suppose 
is  almost  the  exclusive  object  of  interest  and  conversa- 
tion.    .     .     . 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington,]  January  17,  1834. 

It  is  a  rainy  day,  and  therefore  I  may  hope  it  will  be 
free  from  the  continual  interruptions  to  which  I  am  sub- 
ject on  fine  sunshiny  days — though  as  they  have  been 
rare  this  winter,  you  may  imagine  according  to  that 
rule  that  most  of  my  days  were  interrupted  leisure.  But 
I  know  not  how  it  is,  I  have  very  little  leisure  for  either 
reading  or  writing;  interchanging  visits  with  above 
100  people  consumes  a  great  deal  of  time — now  and  then, 
most  agreeably,  as  for  instance  one  day  this  week,  out 
of  12  visits  which  I  paid,  3  were  pleasant,  2  interesting. 
With  Mrs.  Gorham *  I  sat  I  am  sure  more  than  an  hour, 
and  when  I  left  her,  thought  to  myself  our  conversa- 
tion might  have  furnished  two  entertaining  biographical 
sketches,  with  the  effect  of  perfect  contrast.  She  be- 
gan by  making  inquiries  about  Mrs.  Clay,  which  from 
the  interest  she  took  in  the  subject  led  me  into  many 
details  and  gave  a  continuity  to  speaking,  which  made 
Mrs.  Gorham  only  a  listener;  but  we  exchanged  our 
parts  and  she  became  the  speaker,  I  the  listener,  when 
she   entertained   me   excessively  with   the   account  she 

1  Wife  of   Benjamin  Gorham,   a   Representative  from    Boston,  son  of 
Nathaniel  Gorham. 


i834]  MRS.  OTIS,  MRS.  WIRT,  MRS.  WAYNE    343 

gave  of  Mrs.  Otis — the  dashing  Mrs.  Otis.1  Mrs.  G.  is 
one  of  the  most  sensible,  best  informed,  frank  and  agree- 
able women  that  have  ever  been  in  Washington.  I  hope 
to  improve  our  acquaintance  into  intimacy,  particularly 
if,  as  she  hopes,  Miss  Sedgwich  comes  on  to  stay  with 
her.  I  afterwards  called  on  Mrs.  Wirt,  scarcely,  how- 
ever, hoping  to  see  her,  as  she  has  within  this  month  lost 
her  eldest  daughter  Mrs.  Randal.  But  she  sees  her 
friends.  I  found  her  quite  composed.  She  and  her 
two  daughters  were  in  the  parlour  dressed  to  receive 
company  and  though  serious,  not  melancholy.  Here  I 
had  an  interesting  visit.  In  the  evening  we  went  round 
to  drink  at  Mrs.  Thornton's  and  Mrs.  Wayne  living 
next  door,  I  determined  to  step  in,  and  pay  her  a  social 
visit.  She  looked  so  comfortable,  so  homelike  and  at 
the  same  time  so  elegant,  and  as  usual  she  was  so 
pleasant,  that  had  I  not  been  engaged  to  Mrs.  Thorn- 
ton I  should  have  liked  to  have  passed  the  whole  even- 
ing with  her.  A  handsomely  furnished  room,  was 
cheerfulized  by  a  large  bright  fire.  She,  her  daughter 
and  son  were  sitting  by  the  centre  table  reading,  on  one 
side  the  fire  place,  drawn  forward,  was  a  handsome 
pianno,  on  the  other  side  a  comfortable  sopha.  How 
delightfully  she  does  converse!  Her  daughter,  though 
a  sweet,  modest  girl,  will  never  be  a  belle,  or  have  half 
her  mother's  attraction.  The  son  has  neither  the  mod- 
esty of  the  sister,  nor  the  animation  of  father  or  mother. 
Being  in  deep  mourning,  she  does  not  go  out,  but  Judge 
Wayne  with  his  daughter  and  son  go  to  all  the  parties; 
of  which  however  there  have  not  been  as  many  as  usual. 
Mrs.  McClane  as  lady  of  Secty,  of  State,  has  come  out 
splendidly,   every  week  having  a  dinner   and   evening 

1  She  was  Eliza  Henderson   Bordman,  married  Harrison  Gray  Otis,  of 
Hartford  Convention  fame,  in  1817,  and  became  a  social  leader  and  authoress. 


344  •   WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

party.  We  do  not  visit  now.  I  could  not  submit  to  her 
capricious  ways.  She  invited  us  to  one  of  her  parties 
last  week,  but  as  she  had  not  returned  my  last  visit  we 
would  not  go,  so  I  suppose  that  will  end  our  social  inter- 
course. Neither  do  we  see  the  other  ladies  of  the  ad- 
ministration. Indeed  our  society  is  divided  by  the  two 
political  parties  which  divide  our  government,  and  in 
society,  as  well  as  in  politics  the  opposition,  I  think, 
carries  the  day.  Mrs.  Clay,  Mrs.  Webster,  Sprague  and 
many  others  are  ladies  of  the  opposition — and  among 
the  citizens,  with  few  exceptions  all  the  most  respectable 
and  fashionable  people.  The  General  and  his  friend 
Van  Buren  are  going  out  of  fashion  and  I  suspect  out 
of  place — Their  popularity,  if  all  I  hear  is  truth,  is  rap- 
idly decreasing.  Mr.  Clay  is  in  fine  health  and  spirits; 
frank,  cordial  and  good  humored.  I  cannot  help  in- 
dulging some  presidential  hopes  in  his  favour.  Mrs. 
Clay  is  the  same  kind  familiar  friend  and  comes  every 
day  or  two  and  passes  part  of  the  morning  with  us — but 
her  health  is  indifferent.  Last  evening  we  went  to- 
gether to  a  large  party  at  our  neighbour,  Mrs.  Taylor. 
She  called  early  and  sat  an  hour  with  us  before  we  went 
to  the  party.  James  Bayard  was  here,  too,  but  could 
not  as  he  had  intended,  accompany  us,  as  he  had  severely 
sprained  his  arm  by  a  fall.  The  party  was  as  gay  and 
splendid,  as  it  could  be  where  the  close  packed  living 
mass  concealed  all  the  beauty  of  the  inanimate  objects 
in  the  room.  Miss  Wharton  of  Phila.  is  the  reigning 
Belle.  I  made  my  way  through  the  dense  mass  to  get 
a  view  of  her,  pioneered  and  guarded  by  Col.  House, 
but  after  all  my  trouble,  was  disappointed  in  her  ex- 
ceeding beauty.  Virginia  Southard,  I  think  much  hand- 
somer. The  noise  and  crowd  was  too  great  for  con- 
versation, and  I  soon  grew  weary  and  was  glad  at  n 


i834]  THE    FAMILY    CIRCLE  345 

o'clock  to  get  home.  I  was  gratified  by  Julia's  good 
looks.  She  was  dressed  in  plain  white  satin  and  pink 
and  white  flowers  on  her  head — her  hair  arranged  by  a 
hair  dresser.  But  in  such  a  crowd  it  mattered  little  how 
one  was  dressed.  I  shall  not  again  go  to  such  a  large 
party — I  cannot  bear  them,  and  expected  this  to  have 
been  a  small  one. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  Febry.  ioth,  1834. 

How  often,  how  very  often  on  awakening,  have  I 
said,  before  I  arose,  "This  morning  I  will  pass  in  writing 
to  my  dear  sister,"  and  then  arranged  in  my  mind  all 
I  had  to  say.  But  something  would  occur  some  neces- 
sary piece  of  work  must  first  be  dispatched,  some  errand, 
some  visit  or  some  visitor  interfered  and  the  intended 
letter  was  put  off  for  tomorrow;  tomorrow  and  tomor- 
row have  come  and  gone,  till  in  their  accumulation 
they  have  become  weeks,  instead  of  days,  and  yet  on 
retrospect  seem  like  nothing.  Pleasantly  however  have 
they  passed,  and  if  marked  by  no  event  that  stamp'd  a 
character  on  the  days  to  come  they  have  produced  pres- 
ent content  and  left  agreeable  impressions.  Compared 
with  our  acquaintances,  we  lead  quite  a  retired  and 
domestic  life,  viz.,  we  neither  give  parties,  nor  go  to 
parties,  yet  we  are  seldom  or  ever  alone.  Sometimes 
one,  sometimes  a  dozen  are  added  to  our  family  circle. 
Last  evening,  for  instance,  when  Genl.  Taylor  went 
away,  he  observed,  "you  have  had  a  charming  little 
party  this  evening,"  "Party,"  said  I,  "it  was  no  party, 
viz.,  no  one  was  invited,  but  all  came  in  accidently." 
"Really,"  replied  he.     When  he  entered,  Mrs.  Barret 


346  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

and  Mrs.  Smith  were  playing  chess  at  a  little  table,  on 
one  side  of  the  fire,  Mr.  Barret  and  I,  at  the  other  side, 
and  round  the  centre  table  were  clustered  Virginia 
Southard,  Mrs.  Bryan,  Mrs.  Brooks,  Ann,  Julia  and 
Bayard ;  in  the  corner  of  the  sopha  sat  Anna  and  George 
Bomford  winding  worsteds,  and  when  Genl.  T.  and  his 
young  friend  Capt.  Duval  entered,  the  room  looked  full. 
And  during  the  day,  from  eleven  oclock,  it  had  not  been 
empty.  Virginia  is  passing  some  days  with  us,  and  yes- 
terday Mrs.  Barret  came  early  to  spend  a  social  day. 
You  should  have  seen  us,  how  comfortable  we  looked 
and  how  industrious,  Virginia  and  Anna  doing  their  can- 
vas work  in  frames ;  Ann  and  I  doing  ours  on  our  hands, 
each  with  a  little  table  before  us,  covered  with  worsteds 
of  every  shade  and  colour.  Mrs.  Barret  and  Julia  work- 
ing muslin,  all  circled  round  a  blazing  fire,  while  without 
doors  it  was  cold  and  lowering.  The  bell  rings, — it  is 
Mrs.  Clay,  who  feeling  at  home,  sat  down  among  without 
disturbing  us.  The  bell  rings, — some  ladies  you  do  not 
know,  who  put  us  a  little  out,  but  they  did  not  stay  long. 
Some  shade  of  colour  was  wanting,  the  shop  was  dis- 
tant, but  the  difficulty  was  surmounted  by  Mrs.  Clay's 
telling  the  girls  to  take  her  carriage,  she  would  sit  with 
us  till  they  returned.  Virginia  and  Anna  ran  up  stairs 
for  bonnets  and  cloaks  and  just  as  they  got  down,  Mr. 
Bryan  entered,  bringing  with  him  a  very  handsome 
young  man,  whom  he  introduced,  but  finding  the  girls 
on  the  wing,  he  handed  them  into  the  carriage,  jumped 
in  with  them,  and  let  the  handsome  stranger  find  his 
way  on  foot,  (a  love-struck  partner  of  Virginia's,  as  we 
afterwards  found)  Mrs.  Clay  took  up  one  of  the  girl's 
work  and  our  needles  were  resumed,  when  the  bell  again 
rung,  and  Mr.  Calhoun  came  in.  It  seemed  quite  like 
old  times  to  have  him  and  Mrs.  Clay  together,  separated 


i834]  MISS    SOUTHARD   AND    MR.    BRYAN   347 

as  they  have  long  been,  not  only  by  distance,  but  still 
more  by  politics.  I  dare  say  he  sat  near  an  hour  and 
we  had  a  talk  of  old  times,  as  well  as  present  times,  but 
said  not  a  word  of  the  future,  where  collisions  of  in- 
terest may  again  separate  these  once  friends.  After 
he  went,  Catherine  Smith  came  in,  to  show  us  a  screen 
she  had  just  finished,  the  canvas  was  worked  over  white 
velvet  and  the  threads  afterwards  drawn  out,  which  has 
a  beautiful  effect.  It  was  the  finest  specimen  of  the 
worsted  work  I  have  seen  and  our  exclamations  of  ad- 
miration were  re-iterated.  This  work  is  becoming  quite 
a  mania  here,  even  I  could  not  resist,  but  I  cannot  work 
after  a  pattern,  or  count  stitches  and  have  astonished 
the  girls  with  my  fine  bunch  of  flowers,  done  al  fresco. 
I  compose  the  flowers  as  I  proceed,  one  after  the  other, 
fitting  them  in  as  suits.  I  am  as  much  delighted  with 
this  work  as  with  painting.  Virignia,  Ann  and  Anna 
are  all  working  ottomans  for  Mrs.  Clay  and  I  am  doing 
her  lamp  and  stands.  At  Lowel  a  present  of  a  great 
quantity  of  worsted  was  made  her  and  we  are  thus  help- 
ing her  to  use  them.  She  does  the  filling  up,  the  girls 
only  do  the  flowers,  for  which  they  had  gone  to  seek 
for  some  peculiar  colour.  But  when  once  in  the  car- 
riage and  knowing  Mrs.  C.  was  comfortably  fixed  with 
us,  they  took  the  opportunity  to  make  some  other  calls 
and  it  was  almost  three  oclock  when  they  came  back,  so 
I  could  not  but  ask  my  cousin  Bryan  to  stay  to  dinner 
and  soon  after  Bayard  came  in  and  brought  George 
Bomford,  as  he  often  does,  to  dinner  too.  Well,  n'im- 
porte,  we  were  all  friends  and  relatives,  it  was  only  add- 
ing two  more  plates  and  another  leaf  of  the  table.  Mr. 
Bryan  is  devoted  to  Virginia,  he  has  eyes,  ears  and 
tongue  for  no  one  else.  Whether  it  is  love  or  flirtation 
I  know  not.     For  as  Virginia  is  quite  ton,  young  men 


348  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

distinguish  themselves  by  being  in  her  train,  and  self- 
love  is  often  the  cause  of  the  devoted  admiration  they 
profess  for  great  Belles.  But  Virginia  is  worthy  of  ad- 
miration for  herself  alone.  She  really  looks  beautifully, 
— the  latter  part  of  last  evening  she  went  to  a  party  at 
Mrs.  Webster's.  Anna  and  I  sat  up  until  after  n  for 
her,  and  when  she  came  home,  her  father,  her  almost 
idolizing  father  with  her,  she  looked  not  only  lovely, 
but  splendid,  so  sparkling  were  her  eyes,  so  radiant  her 
countenance  and  so  brilliant  her  complexion.  I  sup- 
pose she  had  been  greatly  admired,  for  Mr.  Southard 
looked  so  pleased,  so  delighted.  The  diary  of  this  day 
will  give  you  some  idea  of  most  of  our  days,  though  it 
is  seldom  our  visitors  are  as  interesting  and  agreeable, 
too  generally  they  are  commonplace  and  indifferent,  and 
I  would  prefer  being  alone  with  my  family  and  books. 
As  for  parties,  I  could  not  stand  them.  I  went  to  two, 
but  love  my  own  fireside  too  much  to  go  to  any  more. 
Anna  is  almost  as  averse.  She  has  been  likewise  only 
to  two  or  three  this  winter.  Although  we  have  invita- 
tions to  most,  if  not  all  that  are  given.  Julia  is  the  only 
individual  in  the  family,  that  really  likes  to  go  out.  Ann 
is  very  much  engaged  in  her  various  societies  and  the 
visitations  and  duties  they  render  necessary,  and  I  have 
several  interesting  families  to  visit.  The  one  in  which 
I  take  most  concern  is  that  of  a  young  woman  in  the 
last  stage  of  consumption,  both  she  and  her  mother  are 
destitute  widows.  The  invalid  is  young  and  very  pleas- 
ing in  her  appearance.  I  love  to  sit  with  her.  There 
is  a  great  deal  of  suffering  and  sadness  this  winter 
among  the  labouring  class,  and  how  society  is  to  form 
a  system  that  will  give  permanent,  or  even  regular  re- 
lief to  a  class,  who  depend  on  daily  labour  and  never 
make  provision  for  a  day  beyond,  I  know  not.     The  very 


i834]  DISTRESS    IN    WASHINGTON  349 

remedies  provided  by  benevolence  seem  to  increase  the 
evil  by  making  them  still  more  improvident.  What  is  to 
be  done?  Employment  would  do,  but  Houses  of  In- 
dustry require  not  only  great  capital,  but  great,  very 
great  perseverance,  zeal  and  integrity  in  the  adminis- 
trators. Few  if  any  have  succeeded.  Besides  the  labour- 
ing class,  there  are  other  poor,  still  more  to  be  pitied, 
sudden  reverses,  such  as  dismisal  from  office  produces 
in  one  day  reduced  from  competence  to  poverty,  as  our 
acquaintances  the  Elgars.  The  blow  to  them  was  quite 
unexpected — occasioned  by  some  disagreement  with  the 
President.  The  family  will  leave  the  city  in  the  spring 
and  I  believe  retire  to  a  little  farm  in  Ohio.  How  little 
suited  will  the  girls  be  for  a  farm  in  Ohio  where  female 
servants  are  scarcely  to  be  had.  Pecuniary  distress  is 
extending  to  every  class  and  every  part  of  our  country. 
The  present  state  of  affairs,  unless  some  compromise 
between  the  opposing  parties  take  place,  will  go  on  from 
bad  to  worse.  And  what  is  the  point  in  dispute?  Not 
any  great  political  principle,  but  the  rival  pretentions  of 
two  or  three  individuals  to  the  Presidency,  for  disguise 
it  as  they  will,  the  point  to  be  decided  is,  Who  shall  be 
President?  Mr.  Van  B.  hoped  to  make  himself  so,  by 
destroying  the  Bank  and  its  vast  political  influence,  which 
had  exerted  hostility  to  him.  And  his  opponent,  who- 
ever it  may  be,  hopes  by  establishing  the  Bank  and  se- 
curing its  influence  to  put  down  Mr.  Van  B.  and  his 
party.  Thus  the  ambition  of  individuals,  is  the  main 
spring  of  the  great  political  machine  which  we  call  The 
Government. 


35o  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

Washington,  Feb.  19th,  Wednesday.  1834 
.  .  .  .  Diverging  as  I  have  to  other  subjects,  the 
idea  of  poor  Dr.  Stevens]1  has  not  for  a  moment  been 
absent  from  my  mind,  pray  write  soon  again  and  tell 
me  how  he  supports  his  affliction.  Perhaps  I  more  sen- 
sibly feel  it,  from  that  preparation  of  the  mind  for  such 
impressions,  produced  by  the  death  of  Mr.  Wirt.  He 
died  yesterday.  Most  solemnly  have  I  felt  this  affect- 
ing event.  He  never  recovered  from  the  loss  of  his 
dear  daughter  Agnes.  His  whole  system  was  shaken  by 
it.  His  mind  detached  earthly  interests  and  eagerly 
and  ardently  fixed  on  heavenly.  Preparation  for  the 
awful  event  which  has  now  taken  place,  has  been  his 
chief  business  for  the  last  two  years.  On  one  Sabbath 
he  attended  public  worship,  on  the  next  he  was  on  his 
dying  bed.  His  daughter,  Mrs.  Randal,  died  about  a 
month  ago.  I  have  not  heard  how  Mrs.  Wirt  is  sup- 
ported under  this  sore  affliction.  Never  were  any  couple 
united  by  a  fonder  or  stronger  affection.  Such  a  man 
could  not  but  be  loved  with  ardent  and  exclusive  af- 
fection. Great,  good,  amiable  beyond  his  fellows,  kind 
and  loving  in  his  disposition,  frank,  gentle  and  cordial 
in  his  manners,  he  could  not  be  known  without  being 
loved.  I  was  last  evening  reading  over  some  pages  he 
had  written  in  my  book  of  souvenirs,  on  the  eve  of  his 
leaving  Washington.  The  reflection  there  traced  suited 
the  occasion  and  what  he  said  of  his  departed  friends 
and  the  vain  pursuits  of  life,  applied  to  him  so  forcibly, 
that  I  felt  as  if  though  dead,  he  still  spoke,  as  if  I  heard 
his  voice.     .     .     . 

1  Alexander  Hodgson  Stevens,  a  great  surgeon  in  New  York. 


1834]  MRS.  MADISON'S  EARLY  LIFE  351 

FROM  MRS.  MADISON 

Montpellier  Augt.  31,  1834. ■ 
I  have  received  with  due  sensibility  my  dear  friend 
your  kind  letter  of  the  29th  and  can  assure  you  that  if 
a  Biographical  sketch  must  be  taken,  its  accomplish- 
ment by  your  pen,  would  be  more  agreeable  to  me  than 
by  any  other  to  which  such  a  task  could  be  committed, 
being  persuaded  not  only  of  its  competency,  but  of  the 
just  dispositions  by  which  it  would  be  guided. 

Dolly  and  Mary  are  now  with  us,  but  if  I  had  known 
your  wish  as  it  regards  my  letters  to  them,  and  some  of 
mine  to  their  mother  [torn  out]  have  thrown  light  on 
the  early  occurrences  of  my  life,  but  that  they  contain 
my  unvarnished  opinions  and  feelings  on  different  sub- 
jects. As  it  is  I  will  have  them  sent  here,  when  the 
girls  return  to  the  city,  in  order  that  I  may  select  those, 
at  all  worthy  of  your  attention. 

My  family  are  all  Virginians  except  myself,  who  was 
born  in  N.  Carolina,  whilst  my  Parents  were  there  on 
a  visit  of  one  year,  to  an  Uncle.  Their  families  on  both 
sides,  were  among  the  most  respectable,  and  they,  be- 
coming members  of  the  society  of  friends  soon  after 
their  marriage  manumitted  their  Slaves,  and  left  this 
state  for  that  of  Pennsylvania,  bearing  with  them  their 
children  to  be  educated  in  their  religion — I  believe  my 
age  at  that  time  was  n  or  12  years — I  was  educated  in 
Philadelphia  where  I  was  married  to  Mr.  Todd  in  1790, 
and  to  Mr.  Madison  in  94,  when  I  returned  with  him 
to  the  soil  of  my  Father,  and  to  Washington,  where 
you  have   already  traced   me   with   the   kindness   of   a 

1  This  letter,  the  editor  assumes,  was  the  basis  of  the  sketch  of  Mrs. 
Madison  in  Herrick  and  Longacre's  National  Portrait  Gallery,  printed 
anonymously  but  doubtless  written  by  Mrs.  Smith. 


352  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [iSj* 

Sister.  In  the  year  91,  and  after  the  death  of  my 
Father,  my  Mother  received  into  her  house  some  Gen- 
tlemen as  boarders — and  in  93  she  left  Philadelphia  to 
reside  with  her  daughter  Washington — afterwards,  with 
my  sister  Jackson,  and  occasionally  with  me. — I  am  sen- 
sible that  this  is  but  a  general  answer  to  your.  Should 
any  particular  information  be  desired,  I  will  endeavor 
to  furnish  it. — 

I  am  sorry  to  add  that  Mr.  Madison's  health  has  not 
been  and  is  not  now  so  advanced,  as  might  be  inferred 
from  occasional  references  to  it  in  the  newspapers. — 
The  effect  of  his  severe  and  protracted  rheumatism  has 
been  increased  by  other  indispositions — one  of  which 
still  hanging  on  him  he  is  happily  however,  exempt  from 
much  pain,  and  every  favourable  change  in  him,  bright- 
ens my  hope  of  his  recovery.  He  unites  with  me  in 
every  good  wish  and  affectionate  remembrance  for  your- 
self, Mr.  Smith  and  your  daughters. 

Your  constant  friend. 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  [1834] 
.  .  .  .  If  I  dared  to  say  so,  I  would  say  that  the 
subject  of  a  heriditary  monarchy  have  a  better  chance  of 
well-being  and  tranquillity.  But  this  would  be  treason. 
The  Senate  chamber  is  now  the  centre  of  attraction,  not 
only  of  political  interests,  but  of  the  fashionable  world 
likewise.  It  is  daily  crowded  by  all  the  beauty  and 
fashion  of  our  great  world — crowded  almost  to  suffoca- 
tion. There  never  were  so  many  strangers,  especially 
ladies,  before  in  the  city  and  these,  having  no  other 
occupation,  or  place  of  display,  every  day  resort  to  this 


i834]     ATTRACTIONS    AT    THE    SENATE       353 

arena,  where  our  intellectual  gladiators  exhibit  their 
various  and  gigantic  powers,  not  simply  for  the  good 
of  the  country,  but  for  the  entertainment  of  the  audi- 
ence. The  atmosphere  and  crowd  are  so  oppressive, 
that  it  is  an  exhibition  I  cannot  partake  in,  otherwise 
the  real  eloquence  of  the  present  Senate,  would  prove 
irresistibly  attractive.  Genl.  Preston's1  was  of  the  most 
popular  kind  and  charmed  every  one  that  heard  it.  But 
as  to  producing  change  of  opinion,  or  conviction  in  the 
minds  of  the  hearers  or  readers,  all  this  eloquence  might 
have  been  spared  for  personal,  individual  interest,  only, 
will  opperate  this  affect.  Place,  not  principle  is  now- 
a-days  the  object  contended  for.  And  after  all,  when 
the  highest  place  is  attained,  is  the  successful  occupant 
happier?  For  no  sooner  is  it  obtained  than  he  becomes 
the  object  of  abuse,  and  feels  himself  tottering  in  place 
and  reputation. 

Rumours  prevail  of  an  approaching  change  in  the 
Cabinet.  Poor  Mr.  McClane2  after  all  the  sacrifices  of 
private  and  domestic  comfort,  after  all  his  labours  and 
strivings,  to  retain  his  hard  earned  place  for  so  short 
a  time !  If  I  supposed  our  political  intrigues  and  parties 
amused  you,  I  could  give  you  a  little  vol.  of  such 
sketches.  From  hear  say,  however,  for  Mr.  Smith  is 
wholly  disconnected  with  politics  and  I  take  no  further 
interest  in  them,  than  personal  regard  for  some  of  the 
actors  inspire.  I  cannot  help,  anxiously  wishing  that 
Mrs.  Clay,  may  once  more  be  a  resident  amongst  us. 
She  is  such  an  affectionate,  sincere,  kind  friend,  such 
a  good  woman,  that  her  being  here,  adds  very  much  to 
our  social  enjoyment.     It  is  seldom  that  two  days  pass 

1  William  Campbell  Preston,  Senator  from  South  Carolina  from  1832  to 
1842,  a  brilliant  orator  and  a  follower  of  Calhoun. 

2  Louis  McLane  retired  to  his  country  place  in  Cecil  County,  Maryland, 
this  year. 


354  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

without  her  coming  to  see  us  and  after  sitting  an  hour 
or  two  asking  one  or  the  other  of  us  to  ride  and  visit 
with  her  which  this  winter  is  peculiarly  convenient  and 
agreeable.  Her  health  is  so  bad,  that  she  never  goes 
out  of  an  evening.  While  I  think  of  it,  let  me  give  you 
Mrs.  Bordeau  and  Mrs.  Thornton's  kindest  remem- 
brance to  you.  .  .  .  Mrs.  Bomford,  we  do  not  often 
see,  she  has  at  present  so  large  a  family  (her  house 
being  full  of  friends  and  relations)  that  she  cannot  often 
leave  home,  but  when  she  does  come  to  see  us,  her  cor- 
dial kindness  is  refreshing  to  ones  heart.  As  to  our 
domestic  matters,  my  dear  sister,  I  have  gratefully  to  ac- 
knowledge they  are  more  comfortable  and  cheerful  than 
they  often  have  been.  We  all  enjoy  good  health  and 
good  spirits,  subject  only  to  transient  and  occasional 
interruptions.     .     .     . 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Wednesday,  12th  1835  January. 

.     .     .     .     They  all  paid  long  visits,  and  this  morning, 

just  this  minute,  Miss  Martineau.1     At  so  early  an  hour 

I  expected  no  one  and  was  so  engaged  in  this  letter,  that 

I  scarcely  raised  my  head,  when  the  door  opened  and 

two  plain  looking  ladies   (one  of  the  ladies,  was  Miss 

Jeffries,  her  friend  and  companion)  walked  in.     They 

had  walked  and  I  had  not  attended  to  the  ringing  of 

the  door  bell,  not  expecting  visitors  at  this  hour.     "I 

have  come  early,"  said  she,  "to  make  sure  of  finding 

you  at  home,  and  because  it  is  my  only  disengaged  time. 

I  yesterday  planned  a  quiet  sitting  of  two  hours  with 

you,  but  I  found  it  impossible."     She  is  a  woman  you 

1  Harriet  Martineau  came  over  in  the  summer  of  1834,  when  she  was  32 
years  of  age  and  in  the  zenith  of  her  fame. 


i835]     VISIT    FROM    MISS    MARTINEAU        355 

would  love,  so  plain,  unaffected  and  quiet  in  her  man- 
ners and  appearance,  yet  animated  in  conversation. 
She  brought  me  a  letter  of  introduction  from  Mrs.  Eck- 
art,  and  sent  it  with  her  card,  the  day  after  her  arrival, 
otherwise  I  do  not  know  whether  I  should  have  called 
on  her,  under  our  present  plan  of  domesticity,  and  the 
feelings  thereby  induced,  for  when  one  lives  out  of  com- 
pany one  shrinks  from  it.  Accompanied  by  the  girls  I 
called  on  her,  sent  in  my  name.  There  were  three  or 
four  other  ladies  in  the  room,  but  her  advancing  to 
receive  us,  was  a  sufficient  indication  that  she  was  Miss 
Martineau.  She  was  sitting  in  a  corner  of  the  sopha, 
which  supported  the  arm  and  hand,  which  held  the 
speaking-tube  to  her  ear,  she  handed  it  to  me  saying, 
"Do  you  know  the  use  of  this  ? "  I  answered  affirma- 
tively by  an  inclination  of  my  head  and  putting  the  tube 
to  my  lips,  soon  forgot  I  held  it,  and  conversed  as  easily 
as  if  not  through  this,  it  must  be  confessed,  awkward 
medium.  As  I  had  always  understood  she  was  of  the 
Liberal  if  not  radical  party,  the  advocate  of  the  poor 
and  of  the  working-class,  I  did  not  anticipate  the  re- 
ception she  has  met  with  from  our  dignitaries  and  fash- 
ionables. But  the  English  minister  was  the  first  to  wait 
on  her,  introduced  her  into  the  Senate,  to  the  Presi- 
dent, &c,  &c,  which  at  once  made  her  Ton.  She  has 
literally  been  overwhelmed  with  company.  I  have  been 
told  that  the  clay  after  her  arrival  near  600  persons 
called,  (an  exaggeration  I  suppose)  but  the  number 
was  immense.  Poor  I  had  been  planning  to  show  her 
the  same  kind  of  friendly,  plain  attentions  I  had  done 
Mrs.  Brenton  and  Miss  Sedgwick,  and  offered  to  call 
with  the  carriage  and  accompany  her  to  Congress,  to 
make  her  calls  of  ceremony,  &c,  &c.  When  I  found 
these  calls  had  been  dispensed  with,  and  the  President's 


356  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

family  and  Secretaries  ladies  had  first  called  on  her,  I 
told  her  I  did  not  give  nor  go  to  large  parties,  but  should 
be  glad  to  see  her  in  a  social  and  domestic  manner. 
This  I  repeated  this  morning  and  told  her  when  the 
hurry  of  her  gay  engagements  was  over,  I  would  ask  a 
quiet  day.  "Name  what  day  you  please  after  this  week, 
and  it  shall  be  reserved  for  you,"  replied  she.  Yesterday 
she  dined  at  the  President's,  and  in  the  evening  went 
to  a  large  party.  Today  she  dines  at  Sir  Charles 
Vaughan's1  and  in  the  evening  a  party  at  Mrs.  Butler's2 
(the  attorney  general)  two  large  evening  parties  to 
which  she  had  promised  to  go,  violent  headaches,  in- 
duced by  the  crowds  of  company  during  the  whole  day, 
obliged  her  to  send  an  appology.  Her  health  is  very 
delicate.  During  the  last  year  she  has  been  laboriously 
employed,  to  such  a  degree  as  to  impair  her  health. 
Absolute  relaxation  and  change  of  scene  were  pre- 
scribed, and  she  thought  she  could  obtain  both  these 
remedies  by  making  the  tour  of  U.  S.  But  if  followed 
by  such  crowds,  her  aim  will  be  defeated.  From  her 
manners  and  appearance  no  one  would  believe  it  pos- 
sible she  could  be  so  distinguished,  celebrated,  followed. 
The  drollest  part  of  the  whole  is,  that  these  crowds,  at 
least  in  Washington,  go  to  see  the  lion  and  nothing  else. 
I  have  not  met  with  an  individual,  except  Mrs.  Seaton 
and  her  mother,  who  have  read  any  of  her  works,  or 
knew  for  what  she  is  celebrated.  Our  most  fashion- 
able, exclusive  Mrs.  Tayloe,  said  she  intended  to  call, 
and  asked  what  were  the  novels  she  had  written  and  if 
they  were  pretty?  The  gentlemen  laugh  at  a  woman's 
writing  on  political  economy.  Not  one  of  them  has  the 
least  idea  of  the  nature  of  her  work.  I  tried  to  explain 
them  to  Mr.  Frelinghusen,  Clay,  Southard  and  others. 

1  The  British  Minister.  2  Benjamin  F.  Butler  of  New  York. 


i*35]      LETTER    FROM    THE    MADISONS        357 

But  enough  of  Miss  Martineau  for  the  present.  If  she 
interests  you,  tell  me  so  and  I  will  give  you  what  fur- 
ther details.  But  perhaps  like  your  Bayard  you  may 
think  it  all  ridiculous 


FROM  MR.  AND  MRS.  MADISON 

Montpellier  Jany.  17,  1835. 

Be  assured  my  dear  friend  that  we  reciprocate  all 
the  good  wishes  which  your  letter  has  so  kindly  con- 
veyed to  us  this  day — for  yourself — Mr.  Smith,  and 
your  amiable  family — and  truly,  your  observations  on 
our  acquaintances  accord  also,  with  my  feelings  on  the 
subject — my  experience  teaches,  that  our  hearts  recur 
and  cling  to  early  attachments,  as  the  most  happy  of 
our  lives.  I  ought  now  to  offer  many  apologies  for 
my  silence,  and  if  I  was  not  acquainted  with  your  good- 
ness and  forbearance,  I  should  despair  of  forgiveness — 
but  I  trust  in  a  simple  statement  of  facts  to  shew  you 
that  my  delinquency  has  not  proceeded  from  want  of 
love,  and  confidence  in  your  friendship,  nor  am  I  with- 
out explanations,  which  will  at  least  mitigate  it.  My 
letters  to  my  sister  Todd  at  the  closing  scenes  of  the 
War,  happen  to  be  with  her  in  Kentucky,  and  I  was 
unwilling  to  have  them  exposed  to  the  mail,  if  I  had 
been  sure  of  their  arrival  in  time,  and  that  they  con- 
tained anything  worthy  of  being  extracted.  I  might 
plead  also  my  constant  engagements  of  different  sorts 
at  home,  which  have  not  permitted  me  to  search  our 
papers,  and  bring  my  mind  to  the  revival  of  scenes,  or 
circumstances  that  might  possibly  throw  a  faint  inter- 
est over  a  recital  of  them,  and  lastly  I  must  in  candour 
say,  that  I  have  felt  more  than  a  mere  reluctance  in 


358  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Jan. 

being  a  Judge  and  witness,  of  incidents  if  existing,  that 
might  be  worthy  of  the  use  to  be  made  of  them. 

Your  enquiries  after  my  dear  Husband  will  be  par- 
tially answered  by  himself.  He  is  better  in  health  than 
he  was  two  months  ago,  tho'  still  feeble  and  confined 
to  his  rooms — we  trust  however  that  with  great  care 
against  the  cold  of  this  Winter,  he  will  be  able  to  take 
exercise  in  his  Carriage  when  the  Spring  season  shall 
cheer  us  again.  I  have  been  afflicted  for  the  last  two 
weeks  with  Influenza,  the  violence  of  which  seems  slowly 
passing  away,  altho'  the  cough  continues. 

I  send  you  an  engraving  from  Stuart's  portrait,  which 
tho'  indifferently  executed,  is  a  better  likeness  than  Mr. 
Wood's,  which  I  would  send  also,  but  that  the  stage 
has  ceased  to  run  to  and  from  Orange  C.  House  for  a 
few  days,  on  account  of  bad  roads. 

I  hope  the  efforts  of  our  friend  Mr.  Clay,  in  his  in- 
teresting report,  to  keep  "sweet  peace"  without  a  loss 
of  honour,  may  prove  successful.  A  war  between  the 
United  States  and  France  that  would  cost  both  so  much, 
for  a  cause  apparently  insignificant,  would  be  a  spectacle 
truly  deplorable,  in  the  present  state  of  the  World. 
Ever  affectionately  yours, 

D.  P.  MADISON. 


I  am  very  thankful,  my  kind  friend,  for  the  interest 
you  take  in  my  health.  It  is  not  good,  and  at  my  age, 
nature  can  afford  little  of  the  medical  aid  she  exerts  on 
younger  patients.  I  have  indeed  got  through  the  most 
painful  stages  of  my  principal  malady,  a  diffusive  and 
obstinate  Rheumatism,  but  I  feel  its  crippling  effects  on 
my  limbs,  particularly  my  hands  and  fingers,  as  this 
little  effort  of  the  pen  will  shew.     I  owe  my  thanks  to 


i83s]  HENRY    ORR,    THE    WAITER  359 

Mr.  Smith  also,  for  the  friendly  lines  which  accompanied 
your  former  letter  to  Mrs.  M.  and  the  good  wishes  con- 
veyed in  your  last.  Assure  him  of  the  continuance  of 
my  great  esteem  and  cordial  regards.  May  you  both 
long  enjoy  the  blessing  of  health,  with  every  other 
necessary  to  fill  the  measure  of  your  happiness. 

JAMES  MADISON.1 


TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Washington,  Febr.  4th  1835. 
.  .  .  .  Friday  5th.  And  now  for  Miss  Martineau, 
since  you  desire  to  hear  a  little  more  about  her,  par- 
ticularly of  the  day  she  passed  here.  But  I  really  must 
give  you  a  previous  scene  which  amused  me  extremely 
and  will  not  be  without  some  diversion  for  you.  The 
day  previous  to  our  little  dinner  party,  I  sent  for  Henry 
Orr,  whom  I  had  always  employed  when  I  had  com- 
pany and  who  is  the  most  experienced  and  fashionable 
waiter  in  the  city.  He  is  almost  white,  his  manners 
gentle,  serious  and  respectful,  to  an  uncommon  degree 
and  his  whole  appearance  quite  gentlemanly.  "Henry," 
said  I,  when  he  came,  "I  am  going  to  have  a  small 
dinner  party,  but  though  small,  I  wish  it  to  be  peculiarly 
nice,  every  thing  of  the  best  and  most  fashionable.  I 
wish  you  to  attend,  and  as  it  is  many  years  since  I  have 
dined  in  company,  you  must  tell  me  what  dishes  will 
be  best.  "Boulli,"  I  suppose,  "is  not  out  of  fashion  ?" 
"No,  indeed,  Ma'am !  A  Boulli  at  the  foot  of  the  table 
is  indispensable,  no  dinner  without  it."  "And  at  the 
head?"  "After  the  soup,  Ma'am,  fish,  boil'd  fish,  and 
after  the  Fish,  canvas-backs,  the  Boulli  to  be  removed, 
1  He  died  June  28,  following.     His  letter  is  in  a  painful  trembling  hand. 


360  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

and  Pheasants."  "Stop,  stop  Henry,"  cried  I,  "not 
so  many  removes  if  you  please!"  "Why,  ma'am,  you 
said  your  company  was  to  be  a  dozen,  and  I  am  only 
telling  you  what  is  absolutely  necessary.  Yesterday  at 
Mr.  Woodbury's  there  was  only  18  in  company  and 
there  were  30  dishes  of  meat."  "But  Henry  I  am  not 
a  Secretary's  lady.  I  want  a  small,  genteel  dinner." 
"Indeed,  ma'am,  that  is  all  I  am  telling  you,  for  side 
dishes  you  will  have  a  very  small  ham,  a  small  Turkey, 
on  each  side  of  them  partridges,  mutton  chops,  or  sweet- 
breads, a  macaroni  pie,  an  oyster  pie" — "That  will  do, 
that  will  do,  Henry.  Now  for  vegetables."  "Well, 
ma'am,  stew'd  celery,  spinage,  salsify,  cauliflower." 
"Indeed,  Henry,  you  must  substitute  potatoes,  beets,  &c." 
"Why,  ma'am,  they  will  not  be  genteel,  but  to  be  sure 
if  you  say  so,  it  must  be  so.  Mrs.  Forsyth  the  other 
day,  would  have  a  plum-pudding,  she  will  keep  to  old 
fashions."  "What,  Henry,  plum-pudding  out  of  fash- 
ion?" "La,  yes,  Ma'am,  all  kinds  of  puddings  and  pies." 
"Why,  what  then  must  I  have  at  the  head  and  foot  of 
the  table?"  "Forms  of  ice-cream  at  the  head,  and  a 
pyramid  of  anything,  grapes,  oranges,  or  anything  hand- 
some at  the  foot."  "And  the  other  dishes?"  "Jellies, 
custards,  blanc-mange,  cakes,  sweet-meats,  and  sugar- 
plums." "No  nuts,  raisons,  figs,  &s.,  &c?"  "Oh,  no, 
no,  ma'am,  they  are  quite  vulgar."  "Well,  well,  Henry. 
My  desert  is,  I  find,  all  right,  and  your  dinner  I  sup- 
pose with  the  exception  of  one  or  two  things.  You  may 
order  me  the  pies,  partridges  and  pheasants  from  the 
French  cook,  and  Priscilla  can  do  the  rest."  "Indeed, 
ma'am,  you  had  best" — "No  more,  Henry,"  interrupted 
I.  "I  am  not  Mrs.  Woodbury."  "Why  to  be  sure, 
ma'am,  her's  was  a  particular  dinner  on  account  of  that 
great  English  lady's  dining  with  her,"     "Did  Miss  M. 


i835]     DINNER    FOR    MISS    MARTINEAU       361 

dine  there  ?  "  "La,  yes,  ma'am,  and  I  was  quite  de- 
lighted to  see  the  attention  Mr.  Clay  paid  her,  for  in- 
deed ma'am  I  consider  Mr.  Clay  the  greatest  and  best 
man  now  living,  and  sure  I  should  know,  for  I  served 
him  long  enough.  Oh  he  is  kindness  through  and 
through  and  it  was  but  proper,  ma'am,  that  the  greatest 
man,  should  show  attention  to  the  greatest  lady.  He 
sat  by  her  at  dinner  and  talked  all  the  time  just  to  her, 
neither  of  them  eat  much.  I  took  particular  notice  what 
she  eat,  so  I  might  know  another  time  what  to  hand 
her,  for  she  dines  everywhere,  ma'am,  and  I  see  her 
taste  was  very  simple.  She  eat  nothing  but  a  little 
Turkey  and  a  mite  of  ham,  nothing  else,  ma'am,  and 
Mr.  Clay  hardly  as  much,  they  were  so  engaged  in  con- 
versation. I  listened  whenever  I  was  near  and  heard 
them  talking  about  the  national  debt.  Mr.  Clay  told 
her  our  debt  was  paid  off  and  she  told  him  she  hoped 
their  debt  would  soon  be  paid  off  too,  and  they  con- 
sulted a  great  deal  about  it."  "Why  is  Miss  M.  such 
a  great  woman,  Henry?"  "Why,  they  tells  me,  ma'am, 
she  is  the  greatest  writer  in  England  and  her  books 
doing  monstrous  deal  of  good."  "Well,  Henry,  it  is 
for  this  Lady  my  dinner  is  to  be,  but  it  is  a  family  din- 
ner, not  a  ceremonious  one.  She  is  to  spend  the  day 
just  in  a  social  friendly  way  with  me."  "Why,  ma'am, 
that  is  just  as  it  should  be,  as  you  are  a  writer  too. 
But  indeed,  ma'am,  if  not  another  besides  her  was  in- 
vited, you  ought  to  have  a  grand  dinner.  I  should  like 
you,  ma'am,  to  do  your  best.  It  is  a  great  respect  ma'am 
she  shows  you  and  a  great  kindness  you  show  her,  and 
I  dare  say,  ma'am,  she'll  put  you  in  one  of  her  books, 
so  you  should  do  your  very  best."  But  I  carried  my 
point  in  only  having  8  dishes  of  meat,  tho'  I  could  not 
convince  Henry,  it  was  more  genteel  than  a  grander 


362  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

dinner.  He  came  the  next  day,  and  leaving  him  and 
the  girls  as  his  assistants  (for  Anna  absolutely  locked 
me  out  of  the  dining  room)  I  sat  quietly  in  the  front 
parlour,  as  if  no  company  was  expected.  Mrs.  Randolph, 
Mrs.  Coolidge  (Ellen  Randolph  that  was),  James  Bay- 
ard and  B.  K.1  were  the  only  additional  guests  to  Miss 
M.  and  Miss  Jeffrey  her  companion.  About  3,  B.  K. 
came.  I  only  was  in  the  parlour,  the  girls  were  dress- 
ing, presently  Ann  came  down,  and  told  me  Miss  M. 
and  Miss  J.  were  up  stairs  in  my  room.  "And  you  left 
them  there  alone?"  exclaimed  I.  "To  be  sure  answered 
Ann,  with  her  usual  nonchalance.  I  have  never  been 
introduced  to  them  and  they  asked  me  to  show  them 
to  a  chamber."  "And  you  let  them  go  in  alone!"  "To 
be  sure."  I  hastened  up  stairs  and  found  them  combing 
their  hair.  They  had  taken  off  their  bonnets  and  large 
capes.  "You  see,"  said  Miss  M.,  "we  have  complied 
with  your  request  and  come  sociably  to  pass  the  day 
with  you.  We  have  been  walking  all  the  morning,  our 
lodgings  were  too  distant  to  return,  so  we  have  done 
as  those  who  have  no  carriages  do  in  England,  when 
they  go  to  pass  a  social  day."  I  offered  her  combs, 
brushes,  etc.  But  showing  me  the  enormous  pockets  in 
her  french  dress,  said  they  were  provided  with  all  that 
was  necessary,  and  pulled  out  nice  little  silk  shoes,  silk 
stockings,  a  scarf  for  her  neck,  little  lace  mits,  a  gold 
chain  and  some  other  jewelry,  and  soon  without  chang- 
ing her  dress  was  prettily  equipped  for  dinner  or  even- 
ing company.  We  were  all  as  perfectly  at  our  ease  as 
if  old  friends.  Miss  M's  toilette  was  soonest  completed 
and  sitting  down  by  me  on  the  sopha,  and  handing  me 
the  tube,  we  had  a  nice  social  chat  before  we  went  down 
stairs.  I  introduced  Mr.  Smith,  my  nephews,  and  son 
1  Bayard  Kirkpatrick,  her  nephew. 


i835]  MRS.    SMITH'S    GUESTS  363 

&c.  Mr.  S.  took  a  seat  on  the  sopha  by  her,  and  I  on 
a  chair  on  her  other  side,  to  be  near  to  introduce  others. 
It  was  quite  amusing  to  see  Mr.  S.  He  took  the  tube 
and  at  first  applied  its  wrong  cup  to  his  lips,  but  in  the 
warmth  of  conversation  perpetually  forgot  it,  and  as  he 
always  gesticulates  a  great  deal  with  his  hands,  he  was 
waving  about  the  cup,  quite  forgetful  of  its  use,  except 
when  I  said,  as  I  continually  had  to  do,  "Put  it  to  your 
lips."  But  Miss  M.  has  admirable  tact  and  filled  up  the 
gaps  of  his  part  of  the  conversation,  made  by  the  wav- 
ing of  the  tube,  by  her  intuitive  perception  and  talked 
as  fluently  of  Lord  Brougham,  Lord  Durham  and  other 
political  personages,  of  whom  Mr.  S.  enquired  as  if 
she  had  heard  every  word.  A  little  after  4,  Mrs.  Ran- 
dolph and  Mrs.  Coolidge  came.  I  was  glad  Mrs.  R. 
was  so  handsomely  dressed  (in  general  she  disregards 
her  toilette)  and  looked  so  dignified  and  well,  for  I 
wished  Miss  M.  to  see  the  daughter  of  Jefferson  to 
advantage.  Mrs.  C.  looked  lovely  and  elegant.  I  gave 
Mrs.  R.  a  seat  next  Miss  M.  But  she  said  but  little 
and  afterwards  told  us,  the  very  touch  of  the  Tube, 
put  all  her  ideas  to  flight.  She  went  to  the  contrary 
extreme  of  Mr.  S.,  and  kept  the  cup  pressed  so  tightly 
on  her  lips,  that  she  could  scarcely  open  them.  Mrs. 
Coolidge  managed  better,  and  conversed  with  perfect 
ease  and  great  fluency  until  dinner,  which  was  not  served 
until  five  oclock,  when  the  curtains  being  drawn  and 
shutters  closed,  the  candles  on  the  table  were  lit  and 
made  every  thing  look  better.  Miss  M.  sat  next  me, 
Mrs.  R.  below  her,  Miss  Jeffries  led  in  by  B.  K.  sat 
between  him  and  Mr.  S.,  and  was,  they  say,  extremely 
entertaining.  J.  Bayard  sat  all  the  time  by  Mrs.  C, 
the  old  friend  of  his  sisters  and  seemed  delighted  with 
her.    Dinner  went  off  very  well,     I  conversed  a  great 


364  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

deal  with  Miss  M.,  as  Mrs.  R.  would  not.  Our  con- 
versation was  very  interesting  and  carried  on  in  a  tone 
that  all  the  rest  of  the  company  could  hear.  One  fact 
was  new  and  strange.  Speaking  of  the  use  of  ardent 
spirits  by  the  poor,  she  said  its  high  price  precluded  its 
use,  there  were  now  few  gin-shops.  Opium  had  been 
substituted  by  the  poor  for  gin,  and  apothecaries  boys 
kept  constantly  busy,  making  up  penny  and  ha-penny 
worths  of  opium.  It  was  taken  not  in  sufficient  quan- 
tities to  exhilerate,  but  only  to  stupefy  and  satisfy  the 
cravings  of  hunger.  What  a  wretched  state  of  society 
does  this  imply!  Her  conversation  is  rich  in  most  in- 
teresting illustrations  of  manners,  facts  and  opinions 
and  what  she  said  at  dinner,  if  written  down  would  fill 
4  or  5  such  pages.  While  at  table,  a  note  from  Mr.  Clay 
was  handed  me,  so  handsomely  written  and  so  full  of 
cimpliments  for  Miss  M.  and  regrets  from  being  pre- 
vented joining  our  party  in  the  evening,  that  I  handed 
it  to  her  and  she  then  burst  forth  in  an  eloquent  eulo- 
gium  of  him.  It  was  near  7  when  we  returned  to  the 
parlour,  which  was  brilliantly  lighted,  (as  I  think  light 
a  great  promoter  of  social  pleasure).  Mr.  King  was 
lounging  in  the  rocking  chair,  quite  at  his  ease.  He 
knew  Miss  M.  and  instantly  sat  down  on  one  side  of  her, 
I  on  the  other.  Mr.  King1  engaged  her  in  details  about 
the  English  affairs  and  great  men.  She  was  copious 
and  interesting  in  her  details.  I  wish  I  could  relate 
a  hundredth  part  of  what  she  said,  but  it  is  impossible. 
She  pronounced  Lord  Durham  (Mr.  Lambton,  that  was) 
to  be  the  greatest  man  now  in  England.  "He  will  soon 
be  our  premier,  he  will  be  the  savior  of  England !"  said 
she  with  enthusiasm.  He  is  her  greatest  and  most  in- 
timate personal,  as  well  as  political  friend.  All  the  other 
1  Probably  John  Pendleton  King,  Senator  from  Georgia. 


i835]  MISS  MARTINEAU'S  CONVERSATION  365 

distinguished  men  passed  in  review.  It  was  a  rich  treat 
to  hear  her.  Her  words  flow  in  a  continual  stream,  her 
voice  pleasing,  her  manners  quiet  and  lady-like,  her  face 
full  of  intelligence,  benevolence  and  animation.  She 
always  leans  back  in  the  corner  of  the  sopha,  seemingly 
unconscious  of  the  presence  of  any  one  except  the  person 
she  is  talking  with.  Mr.  &  Mrs.  Frelinghusen  and  Mrs. 
Burgess  (a  most  lovely  young  widow),  Mrs.  Thornton, 
Mrs.  Bomford  and  her  family,  Mr.  &  Mrs.  Calhoun  and 
her  3  young  ladies,  the  Southards,  Mr.  Palfrey,  the 
unitarian  clergyman  (ours  was  asked  but  did  not  come) 
and  about  a  dozen  gentlemen,  made  up  the  evening 
party.  Mr.  Frelinghusen  and  Mr.  Calhoun  both  sat  and 
conversed  a  great  deal  with  Miss  M.,  and  most  of  the 
company  by  turns  sat  a  while  by  her.  Mr.  Calhoun  is 
one  of  her*  greatest  admirers,  his  Mess  gave  her  a  din- 
ner, Mrs.  Bomford  was  unexpectedly  pleased  because 
unexpectedly  she  felt  herself  at  ease  with  Miss  M.  She 
is  so  simple,  plain,  good-natured  and  unaffected,  that 
I  wonder  every  one  does  not  feel  at  ease.  Ease  and 
animation  pervaded  the  whole  of  the  company,  we  had 
some  delightful  singing  from  the  young  ladies,  Scotch 
songs  to  perfection.  It  was  n  oclock  before  the  party 
broke  up.  Every  one  gratified  at  an  opportunity  of 
meeting  Miss  M.,  in  such  a  quiet,  social  manner.  The 
next  day,  by  appointment,  I  accompanied  Miss  M.  and 
Miss  J.  to  Kalorama.  Anna  Maria  went  with  us.  In 
a  carriage  she  needs  not  her  tube,  but  hears  distinctly 
without  it.  In  a  carriage,  too,  sitting  so  close  one  feels 
so  confidential.  We  rode  about  from  12  until  past  three 
and  our  conversation  would  fill  several  sheets.  I  en- 
quired about  her  early  life,  her  motives  for  embracing 
literature  as  a  pursuit,  the  formation  of  ner  mind,  habits 
and  opinions,  all  of  which  she  freely  gave  me  the  his- 


366  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

tory.  and  an  interesting  history  it  is.  "Do  tell  me," 
said  I,  "if  praise  and  celebrity,  like  everything  else  do 
not  lose  their  relish?"  "I  never,"  said  she,  "had  much 
relish  for  general  praise ;  the  approbation  of  those  I  love 
and  esteem  or  respect,  I  highly  value.  But  newspaper 
praise  or  censure,  are  perfectly  indifferent  to  me.  The 
most  valued  advantage  I  have  gained  is  the  facility  which 
it  gives  me  to  gain  access  to  every  person,  place  or  thing 
I  desire,  this  is  truly  a  great  advantage."  Speaking  of 
the  lionizing  of  celebrated  people,  "Well,"  said  she, 
laughing,  "I  have  escaped  that,  to  my  knowledge,  I 
have  never  been  made  a  show  of,  or  run  after  as  a  lion." 
Of  course,  I  did  not  undeceive  her.  I  asked  her  how 
I  should  understand  an  expression  she  several  times 
used  "Since  I  have  been  employed  by  government." 
She  said,  two  of  the  subjects  she  had  illustrated  in  her 
stories,  had  been  by  the  request  of  Lord  Brougham  and 
Lord  Durham,  who  supplied  her  with  the  materials,  or 
principles,  viz.,  the  Poor-Laws,  on  Taxation.  She  was 
employed  by  them  to  write  on  these  two  subjects,  on 
which  account  she  and  her  mother  had  removed  to  Lon- 
don, as  the  transmission  of  Phamphlets  by  the  mail,  be- 
came too  burthensome,  frequently  requiring  her  to  send 
a  wheel-barrow  to  the  Post  office.  For  the  last  two 
years  she  and  her  mother  have  resided  in  London,  have 
a  small  house  adjoining  the  Park,  which  is  as  quiet  and 
pleasant  as  in  the  country.  Here  she  had  daily  inter- 
course with  the  members  of  the  Cabinet  and  leaders 
of  the  whig  party,  particularly  the  above-named  gentle- 
men. She  never  makes  visits  and  receives  them  only 
at  2  specified  hours  every  day,  but  while  Parliament  is 
sitting,  dines  out  (at  night,  remember)  every  day. 
Once,  while  at  Lord  Durham's  in  the  country,  at  table, 
a  gentleman  sitting  next  her  observed,  "There  is  one 


i835]  THE   NUMIDIAN    LION  367 

subject,  Miss  M.,  I  think  your  genius  admirably  calcu- 
lated to  illustrate."  "What  is  that,"  said  she,  with  eager- 
ness glad  to  be  instructed.  "The  Poor  Laws"  replied 
he.  "Why  exclaimed  Lord  D.,  in  what  corner  of  Eng- 
land have  you  been  living,  that  you  do  not  know,  this  is 
the  very  subject  on  which  she  has  most  ably  written." 
"I  did,  I  candidly  own,"  said  Miss  M.,  when  she  told 
me  this,  "I  did  feel  completely  mortified."  My  paper 
will  hold  no  more.  I  will  soon  write  again,  but  as  I 
cannot  write  all  this  over  and  it  may  amuse  Maria,  I 
wish  you  would  send  it  to  her.  Oh  how  tired  my  head 
and  hands  are !  The  girls  are  equally  so  of  holding  their 
tongues. 

TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington]  February  14,  1835. 
.  .  .  .  Hearing  that  Congress  had  placed  the  Nu- 
midian  Lion,  at  the  disposal  of  the  President,  she1  in- 
stantly hurried  to  him,  obtained  a  private  interview,  and 
asked  him  to  bestow  the  Lion  on  the  Orphan  Asylum. 
The  old  general  showed  so  much  warmth  and  kindness 
in  acceeding  to  her  request,  that  she  says  she  was  so 
overcome,  that  she  burst  into  tears  and  seizing  his 
hand,  kissed  it  in  the  excess  of  her  delight  and  grati- 
tude. He  immediately  drew  an  order  on  the  Secretary 
of  State  and  signing  it,  gave  it  to  her.  She  hastened 
to  us  with  the  glad  tidings  and  could  not  tell  her  story 
without  tears.  It  is  for  both  the  Asylums,  Protestant 
and  Catholic.  This  morning  she  has  been  here  to  con- 
sult on  the  best  mode  of  using  the  bounty.  Capt.  Riely, 
was  here  last  evening  and  gave  us  his  opinion,  which 
I  detailed  to  her.  She  took  Ann  with  her  and  is  now 
1  Mrs.  Bomford,  chief  directress  of  the  orphan  asylum. 


368  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Feb. 

gone  to  call  on  the  different  Managers,  to  collect  their 
opinions,  and  will  be  out  I  dare  say,  until  3  or  4  oclock, 
although  it  is  snowing.  Whatever  she  does  is  with 
her  whole  heart,  in  private  kindness  and  friendship  she 
is  equally  zealous.    I  do  love  her,  and  so  does  every  one. 

Last  evening  we  had  a  delightful  fire  side  circle.  All 
were  so  animated.  Mrs.  Thornton  and  Bordeaux,  Mrs. 
Newman  and  Mrs.  Woodyer,  (Mr.  King's  relations) 
Mr.  King,  Mr.  Reide  and  last  but  not  least  Capt.  Riely. 
He  came  so  apropos  to  tell  us  about  the  Lion.  Mrs. 
Newman  was  delighted  to  see  him  and  wanted  to  hear 
from  his  own  mouth  his  African  adventures,1  so  I  made 
him  put  his  chair  in  front  of  us  and  tell  his  story  to 
Mrs.  Newman,  who  listened  with  the  simplicity  and 
eagerness  of  a  child.  On  the  other  side  was  a  party 
at  whist  and  in  the  centre  of  the  circle  gentlemen  talk- 
ing politics.  We  frequently  have  these  little  tea  drink- 
ings  of  a  dozen  or  so. 

Miss  Martineau  has  been  likewise  an  exciting  object 
lately.  I  wrote  sister  a  long  account  of  her,  and  to 
spare  myself  the  repetition  requested  her  to  send  the 
letter  to  you.  No  stranger,  excepting  La  Fayette,  ever 
received  such  universal  and  marked  testimonies  of  re- 
gard. At  first  our  great  men  were  disposed  to  laugh 
at  her,  but  now  they  are  her  most  devoted  admirers 
and  constant  visitants.  Mr.  Webster,  Mr.  Clay,  Mr. 
Calhoun,  Preston,  Judge  Story  and  many  others  often 
visit  her  and  when  she  goes  to  the  Senate  or  Court- 
Room  leave  their  seats  to  converse  with  her.  Besides 
these  attentions,  they  show  still  more  personal  evidences 
of  regard.  Mr.  Clay  insists  on  her  making  his  daugh- 
ter's house  at  New  Orleans  and  his  own  house  in  Lex- 

1  He  had  just  returned  from  a  voyage  to  Morocco  and  had  brought  the 
lion  as  a  present  from  the  Sultan  to  the  President. 


Fac-simile  of  letter  from   Miss   Martineau  to  Mrs.    Smith 


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i83s]      MISS    MARTINEAU'S    ADMIRERS        369 

ington  her  residence  while  in  these  places,  and  Mr.  Cal- 
houn, by  his  letters,  will  ensure  her  every  kind  attention 
in  Charleston.  Yet  all  this  does  not  seem  to  turn  her 
head  in  the  least,  and  so  frank,  modest  and  simple  are 
her  manners  and  appearance  that  to  meet  her  in  com- 
pany, no  one  would  dream  she  was  so  distinguished  a 
personage.  Perhaps  you  have  seen  in  the  Intelligencer 
my  political  address  to  Harriet  Martineau.1  If  you 
have  not,  let  me  know  and  I  will  send  you  a  copy,  or 
will  ask  Sister  to  send  you  the  one  I  send  her.  I  can- 
not, just  now  at  least,  copy  it  again.  You  must  let 
me  know  what  you  think  of  it.  I  sent  Miss  M.  a  MSS 
copy,  in  return  she  wrote  me  a  very  simple,  unpretend- 
ing and  kind  note.  On  coming  home  yesterday  I  found 
her  card  to  take  leave,  so  I  shall  not  see  her  again.  She 
is  really  interesting  in  conversation  and  character, 
though  not  in  appearance.  A  most  original  and  pow- 
erful genius,  and  apparently  as  good  as  she  is  great. 
Anna  Maria  who  is  not  very  susceptible  of  quick  im- 
pressions, says  she  cannot  help  loving  her.  Our  winter 
is  almost  over.  With  us,  with  me,  it  has  passed  as 
pleasantly  as  it  has  rapidly.  Unmarked  by  any  deep 
or  lasting  interest,  it  has  glided  by  like  a  dream  leaving 
no  vestige  behind.  Congress,  too,  has  hitherto  been  very 
tranquil.  Mr.  Calhoun's  report,2  however,  yesterday  has 
broken  its  quiet.  There  was  great  agitation, — some 
personal  violence  it  is  said  in  the  Senate,  even  a  duel 
apprehended.  The  Senate  chamber  was  crowded  to 
crushing  with  ladies.  I  never  go  on  such  squeezing 
occasions. 

Every  day  brings  us  as  invitation  to  a  Ball  or  Party, 

1  It  was  one  of  a  number  of  addresses  in  verse  to  Miss  Martineau.  The 
one  she  enjoyed  most  was  to  her  famous  ear-trumpet  which  was  apostro- 
phized "beloved  horn!" 

2  On  the  use  of  patronage  by  the  President. 


370  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

three  cards  for  next  week  are  now  lying  on  the  table, 
but  we  decline  all.  The  gaiety  is  increasing  and  so  is 
luxury  and  European  habits,  hours  and  fashions.  We 
are  quiet  spectators  of  the  bustling  scene,  without  the 
slightest  desire  of  being  actors.  I  am  every  moment 
expecting  Mrs.  Bomford  back,  her  young  ladies  are  to 
remain  all  day  with  us  and  if  the  weather  permits  a 
large  party  of  young  people  are  to  meet  here  and  go 
in  the  evening  to  the  exhibition.  But  I  rather  think  the 
threatening  clouds  will  not  disperse,  the  snow  has  stopped 
but  the  clouds  are  dark  and  heavy.  My  paper  is  full 
and  my  hand  tired,  so  I  will  with  every  kind  wish,  bid 
you  my  dear  Maria,  adieu. 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington]  March  nth,  1835. 

.  .  .  .  Mr.  Jacob  Abbott1  came  with  Dr.  S.  to 
see  me  in  the  morning.  His  book  is  much  more  in- 
teresting than  his  conversation.  Yet  in  a  short  visit 
one  cannot  fairly  judge.  The  Corner  Stone,  I  like  bet- 
ter than  any  work  on  the  same  subject  I  have  ever  read. 
I  like  the  temper  in  which  it  is  written,  a  truly  christian 
temper,  and  consequently  felt  drawn  to  the  author.  I 
wish  I  could  have  seen  more  of  him.  His  book  (which 
you  sent  me)  has  been  travelling  ever  since  from  friend 
to  friend.  I  quite  want  to  see  it  again.  I  thank  you 
for  the  House  Keeper,  but  have  not  yet  had  time  to  read 
it,  I  received  it  only  yesterday. 

Are  you  not  sorry  you  have  finished  the  life  and  cor- 
respondance  of  Hannah  Moore?  I  felt  as  if  separated 
from  her  after  a  long  personal  intercourse.     I  imme- 

*The  author  of  innumerable  children's  books,  including  the  "Rollo 
Books." 


i835]  HANNAH    MORE'S    WORKS  371 

diately  got  a  large  volume  of  her  works,  but  this  did 
not  supply  the  loss.  Do  you  know  I  am  disappointed  in 
them.  I  had  read  all,  as  they  successively  appeared  and 
remember  I  then  remarked  they  are  too  verbose,  they 
are  often  heavy,  and  after  reading  Practical  piety,  you 
have  little  else  to  learn  from  her  other  works,  which 
contain  precisely  the  same  sentiments  and  opinions  under 
a  different  title  and  in  language  a  little  varied.  But 
after  reading  her  memoirs,  I  concluded  I  must  be  mis- 
taken. Such  universal  and  lavish  praise.  Such  rapid 
and  extensive  sales  and  numerous  editions, — such  high 
reputation,  could  only  have  been  effected  by  intrinsick 
and  rare  and  superior  genius.  Yes,  genius,  for  simple 
goodness  and  piety,  could  not  have  ensured  such  suc- 
cess. I  therefore  resolved  to  re-peruse  her  works  and 
set  eagerly  about  it.  The  result  is  the  same, — they  are 
very  good,  but  very  heavy,  the  sentiments  so  heavily 
laden  with  words,  that  they  drag  extremely,  and  one 
grows  weary.  The  same  truths  conveyed  in  fewer 
words  would  be  far  more  striking  and  impressive.  The 
letters  written  to  an  author,  are  no  certain  indications  of 
the  writer's  real  opinion.  When  one  sends  you  a  book 
you  must  praise  it.  It  is  a  pity  that  so  large  a  portion 
of  the  Second  Vol.  is  taken  up  with  these  complimentary 
letters.  You  should  read  Mrs.  Montagu's  letters,  Mrs. 
Carter's  life  and  other  cotemporaneous  works  to  keep 
up  with  the  delightful  society  to  which  Miss  Moore  in- 
troduced you. 

I  have  read  Stewart's  sketches1  and  agree  with  you  in 
thinking  there  was  an  indelicacy  in  addressing  the  let- 

1  Charles  Samuel  Stewart,  a  chaplain  in  the  navy  and  a  noted  traveller. 
"Residence  at  the  Sandwich  Islands  1823-25"  appeared  in  1828,  "Visit 
to  the  South  Seas"  (2  vols.)  in  1831,  "Sketches  of  Society  in  Great  Britain 
and  Ireland  in  1832"  in  1834,  the  last-named  being  the  book  to  which  Mrs. 
Smith  refers. 


372  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Mar. 

ters  to  dear  Virginia,  whether  a  betrothed  or  not  be- 
trothed. The  family,  Mrs.  Southard  especially,  abso- 
lutely and  seriously  deny  there  being  any  truth  in  the 
rumour  of  any  designed  connection.  The  letters  are 
very  inferior  to  those  Mr.  Stewart  wrote  from  the  Sand- 
wich Islands.  One  reason,  Virginia  says,  is,  that  they 
are  all  mutilated.  None  of  them  are  given  as  they  were 
written ;  the  most  interesting  and  confidential  parts  were 
omitted.  I  am  sorry  I  did  not  write  by  Capt.  Riley  but 
I  did  not  know  until  he  called  to  bid  us  farewell,  that  he 
was  going  to  New  York.  When  I  mentioned  you  to 
him,  he  said  if  I  wrote,  he  would  with  great  pleasure 
carry  my  letter  over  to  Brooklyn  and  go  to  see  my  sis- 
ter. He  is  a  kind,  warm-hearted  man  and  since  his 
first  introduction  to  me  by  my  dear  Mr.  Bleecher,  has 
felt  like  a  friend  and  been  quite  domesticated  in  our 
family.  He  has  no  talents  for  conversation  and  needs 
being  drawn  out.  A  general  dispersion  of  the  recent 
inhabitants  has  taken  place  and  Washington  is  now  as 
quiet  as  a  village.  How  many  of  the  hundreds  who 
have  separated  will  never  meet  again.  Ours  is  a  strange 
state  of  society,  made  up  of  persons  from  all  parts  not 
only  of  this  country,  but  of  Europe  thronging  here  in 
crowds,  eager,  bustling,  agitated  by  various-  and  often 
conflicting  interests.  No  monotony  here,  every  season, 
nay  every  week  and  month  brings  change  and  variety. 
New  faces,  new  interests,  new  objects  of  every  kind, 
in  politics,  fashions,  works  of  art  and  nature,  for  ex- 
hibitions of  all  descriptions  are  here  displayed.  When 
lo,  Congress  adjourns,  the  curtain  drops,  the  drama  is 
over,  all  is  quiet,  not  to  say  solitary.  To  our  family  it 
makes  less  difference  than  to  those  who  live  the  year 
round  in  the  city.  In  April  we  retire  from  all  bustle 
and  society.     The  time  for  our  retreat  draws  nigh  and 


i835l  DEATH    OF    FRIENDS  373 

I  look  to  it  with  pleasure.  We  are  as  punctual  as  the 
seasons  and  with  the  return  of  the  first  of  April,  go  into 
the  country.  I  hope  your  husband's  intended  little  visit 
will  be  before  our  leaving  the  city,  as  we  can  in  that 
case  have  him  with  us  and  see  more  of  him  than  at 
Sidney.     ... 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

Sidney,  16  April,  1835.  Thursday. 
.  .  .  .  Since  I  last  wrote,  two  of  my  earliest  ac- 
quaintances in  Washington  have  been  taken  from  life, 
Mrs.  Thurston  and  Mrs.  Diggs.  In  former  years  I  was 
intimate  with  both,  as  well  as  with  Mrs.  Cutts  and  Mrs. 
Van  Ness,  all  conspicuous  members  of  the  social  and 
fashionable  circle  of  that  day.  We  have  been  travelling 
the  same  road  and  about  the  same  age.  They  have  fin- 
ished their  journey, — am  I  near  the  end  of  mine  ?  How 
many  of  my  cotemporaries  have  quitted  the  Stage  of 
Life.  Some  who  in  youth  were  united  in  the  same  pur- 
suits and  by  the  bond  of  strong  interest  and  kind  feeling. 
Mr.  Bleecker,  Mr.  Woodhull,  Mr.  Finlay  among  many 
others.  Friends  of  my  youth!  Little  did  I  expect  to 
outlive  either  of  these.  My  dear  Mrs.  Randolph  is,  I 
hear,  very  ill.  She  has  been  during  the  whole  winter  in 
a  suffering  state  of  health.  I  had  some  interesting  rides 
with  her  on  some  of  the  pleasant  days  of  last  month. 
The  day  she  dined  with  Miss  Martineau  at  our  house 
was  the  only  visit  she  has  paid  for  a  year,  and  except 
when  I  called  for  her  to  ride,  she  never  went  out.  The 
last  time,  we  conversed  much  of  her  father.  She  often 
had  to  turn  aside  her  head  and  wipe  her  eyes.  I  never 
saw  her  so  much  affected  by  the  subject  on  any  previous 
occasion.  I  was  urging  her  to  write  an  account  of  the 
last  week  of  his  life  and  the  closing  scene,  which  she 


374  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Apr. 

only  could  entirely  and  truly  do,  as  she  never  left  him 
for  an  hour.  She  only  shook  her  head  and  wept.  I 
wish  I  could  be  with  her  in  her  illness,  but  with  her  five 
daughters  around  her,  I  fear  there  will  be  no  room  for 
me.  The  family  this  winter  has  been  very  large,  8 
grand-children  with  her.  One  has  long  been  danger- 
ously ill  and  another  is  now  attacked  with  a  similar  dis- 
ease. They  are  lovely  interesting  children,  the  eldest 
not  eight  years  old.  In  all  she  has  24  grand  and  3  great 
grand  children.  I  have  no  friend  here  whom  I  more 
tenderly  love,  and  at  present  suffer  much  anxiety  on 
her  account.     .     .     . 

Friday  17.  I  left  off  yesterday  to  read  to  the  girls. 
Marriage,  by  the  author  of  Inheritance,  amused  without 
much  interesting  us  and  made  our  needles  fly  more 
quickly.  The  parlour  looked  like  a  work  room,  (not 
littered  however)  4  females  at  work,  when  a  carriage 
drove  to  the  door, — in  the  country  quite  an  event,  but 
it  was  no  fashionable  visitor,  but  Mr.  Herring,  the  Edi- 
tor of  the  National  Portrait  Gallery,  who  for  a  year  past 
has  been  a  correspondent  of  mine.  As  some  return  for 
an  article  I  wrote  for  him  he  brought  me  two  volumes, 
or  sets  of  this  beautiful  work,  containing  12  numbers  a 
vol.  He  passed  several  hours  with  us.  He  has  come 
on  to  paint  some  portraits  for  his  Gallery.  I  am  very 
partial,  you  know  I  always  was,  to  Painters.  Not  long 
before  I  left  the  city,  I  made  the  acquaintance  of  Durand, 
the  Engraver,  and  likewise  a  portrait  painter, — one  of 
the  most  agreeable  acquaintances  I  made  the  whole  win- 
ter, more  so  than  Miss  M.  He  is  so  very  modest  and 
reserved  a  man  that  only  those  who  take  pains  to  draw 
him  out,  would  discover  his  intelligence.  He  left  me  a 
little  momento  of  his  visit  by  a  beautiful  drawing  in  my 
album  of  the  head  of  Jefferson.   ,..     .     . 


i835]  CLAY'S    DAUGHTER   DIES  375 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington]  Christmas  day,  1835. 
.  .  .  .  Poor  Mr.  Clay,  was  laughing  and  talking 
and  joking  with  some  friends  when  his  papers  and  let- 
ters were  brought  to  him;  he  naturally  first  opened  the 
letter  from  home.  A  friend  who  was  with  him,  says  he 
started  up  and  then  fell,  as  if  shot,  and  his  first  words 
were  "Every  tie  to  life  is  broken!"1  He  continued  that 
day  in  almost  a  state  of  distraction,  but  has,  I  am  told, 
become  more  composed,  though  in  the  deepest  affliction. 
Ann  was  his  pride,  as  well  as  his  joy  and  of  all  his 
children  his  greatest  comfort.  She  was  my  favorite,  so 
frank,  gay,  and  warm  hearted.  Her  husband  was  very 
very  rich.  Their  plantation  joined  Mr.  Clay's  and  af- 
forded a  daily  intercourse.  Of  five  daughters,  she  was 
the  last,  and  now  she  is  gone  and  poor  Mrs.  Clay  in  her 
declining  age  is  left  alone  and  bereaved  of  the  support 
and  comfort  which  daughters  and  only  daughters  can 
afford.  I  now,  cannot  realize  that  you  or  I  can  ever  be 
so  bereaved,  we  are  so  far  advanced  towards  our  jour- 
ney's end 


FROM  HENRY  CLAY 

Washn,  31st  Deer  1835 

Dear  Madam 

I  ree'd  your  kind  letter  of  this  date.  From  no  friend 
could  condolence,  on  the  occasion  of  my  recent  heavy 
affliction,  have  come  more  welcomely;  but  dear  Madam 
all  the  efforts  of  friendship  or  of  my  own  mind  have 
but  little  effect  on  a  heart  wounded  as  mine  is.  My 
1  The  story  was  that  he  fainted. 


376  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1836. 

daughter  was  so  good,  so  dutiful,  so  affectionate;  her 
tastes  and  sympathies  and  amusements  were  so  identical 
with  my  own;  she  was  so  interwoven  with  every  plan 
and  prospect  of  passing  the  remnant  of  my  days,  that 
I  feel  I  have  sustained  a  loss  which  can  never  be  re- 
paired. Henceforward,  there  is  nothing  before  me  in 
this  world  but  duties. 

My  poor  wife  has  suffered  beyond  expression;  but 
she  has  in  affliction  a  resourse — a  great  resourse — which 
I  have  not.1  I  will  transmit  your  friendly  letter  to  her 
which,  I  have  no  doubt,  she  will  receive  as  a  fresh  trib- 
ute from  a  friendship  which  I  know  she  has  ever  highly 
appreciated. 

With  true  regard 

I  am  sincerely  y'rs 

Mrs.  M.  H.  Smith.  H.  Clay 


TO  MRS.  BOYD 

[Washington]  Feb.  6,  1836. 

.  .  .  .  I  last  week  for  a  wonder  went  to  a  large 
party.  It  was  given  by  our  neighbour  Commodore 
Rodgers,2  who  has  always  been  a  great  favorite  of  mine, 
and  as  it  was  so  near  I  ventured.  I  passed  my  time  very 
quietly  and  pleasantly,  for  after  looking  for  a  while  on 
the  crowd  in  the  ball  room  and  ascertaining  the  fashions 
of  the  season  and  contemplated  the  Lions,  Mr.  Welles 
and  Mr.  Power,  found  a  delightful  comfortable  fauteuil 
in  the  reception  room,  where  I  lounged  quite  at  my  ease, 
conversing    by    turns    with    my    acquaintances.     Mrs. 

1  Later  in  life  he  was  confirmed  as  a  member  of  the  Episcopal 
Church. 

'The  great  John  Rodgers,  first  of  the  line  of  the  family  of  distinguished 
navy  officers. 


i836]  PARTY   AT   COMMODORE   RODGERS'   377 

Wilkes,1  by  her  own  desire  was  introduced  to  me,  and 
told  me  as  an  old  acquaintance  of  her  mother's  she 
had  wished  to  be  acquainted  and  would  without  cere- 
mony have  called  to  see  me  first  had  she  not  feared 
being  intrusive.  Of  course  I  must  now  go  to  see  her, 
which  I  should  be  most  pleased  with  doing,  (as  I  found 
her  uncommonly  pleasing)  were  it  not  for  her  living  so 
far,  far  away  from  our  neighbourhood,  too  far  for  me 
to  walk.  I  am  ging  this  morning,  likewise  to  call  on  the 
Bride,  Mrs.  Smith,  Marion  Clark  that  was.  We  were 
invited  to  the  wedding  party,  but  only  Bayard  went.  The 
invitations  were  very  general,  including  strangers  as 
well  as  citizens  and  the  crowd  consequently  excessive. 
There  was  scarce  a  possibility  of  moving  and  much  less 
of  seeing  the  individuals  of  this  splendid  crowd,  for  the 
dresses  I  am  told  were  unusually  rich  and  elegant.  The 
supper  was  as  rare  and  as  brilliant  as  our  best  artists  and 
unlimited  expenditure  could  make  it.  The  company  in 
small  parties  went  up  to  look  at  the  table,  to  feast  their 
eyes  before  its  beauty  should  be  destroyed  by  going  up 
to  feast  their  palates.  The  next  morning  both  bride  and 
groom  received  company.  A  table  as  elegantly  and 
profusely  spread  as  the  night  before,  with  a  super- 
abundance of  the  finest  wines,  (champagne  inclusive) 
were  provided  up  stairs  for  the  gentlemen,  while  wed- 
ding cake  &c,  &c,  were  served  in  the  drawing  room  for 
the  ladies.  The  throng  in  the  morning  equalled  the  one 
on  the  previous  evening.  Expecting  this  would  be  the 
case,  I  deferred  my  visit,  as  my  head  dare  not  venture 
into  crowded  places.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Rodgers,  Virginia 
Southard  and  some  others  of  the  bridal  train,  hence 
inmates  of  the  family.     Mrs.   Rodgers  I  am  told  has 

1  Wife  of    Charles  Wilkes,   afterwards  Rear-Admiral  in  the  Navy,  the 
officer  who  intercepted  the  British  steamer  "Trent"  in  1861. 


378  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1837. 

astonished  the  natives,  by  the  brilliancy  and  costliness 
and  elegance  of  her  wardrobe.  "Did  you  hear  of  the 
fatal  accident  that  occurred  at  Mrs.  Clark's  Saturday 
morning?"  said  my  lady  informant,  with  a  long  melan- 
choly countenance.  "Fatal  accident?  No,  what  was 
it  ?"  "Poor  Mrs.  Rodgers,  only  think  how  unfortunate,'' 
and  she  paused  and  looked  so  mournful  that  I  really  felt 
alarmed  and  exclaimed,  "Was  she  hurt?"  "No,  but  her 
exquisite  pocket  handkerchief  that  cost  60  dols  was  burnt 
up, — a  spark  flew  on  it,  and  the  cob-web  texture  was 
instantly  in  flames,  from  which  her  superb  dress  like- 
wise suffered  irreparably."  We  laughed  heartily  at  the 
finale  of  the  mournful  story.  The  same  lady  told  us 
such  dresses  had  never  before  been  displayed  here.  Do 
you  know  I  am  half  afraid  to  go  this  morning  to  see 
this  fine  lady,  but  as  a  hundredth  cousin,  I  suppose  I 
must,  seeing  as  how  she  is  staying  with  Mrs.  Clarke, 
who  requested  me  to  call  on  her.  The  increasing  luxury 
of  dress  and  living  in  this  place,  will  soon  oblige  the 
poor-gentry  to  form  a  separate  association.     .     .     . 

TO  MRS.  KIRKPATRICK 

[Washington]  Wednesday  afternoon,  March  28,  1837. 
.  .  .  .  Another  object  of  deep  interest  which  has 
engaged  me  lately,  is  Mr.  Pettrich,  the  German  Sculptor. 
The  choice  of  the  Artist  who  is  to  do  the  work  in  the 
Capitol,  is  left  to  the  President,  and  Persico1  and  Pettrich 
are  the  competitors.  Their  friends  are  making  all  the 
interest  they  can,  (for  every  thing  goes  by  favor).  Mrs. 
Taylor  and  I  are  the  most  zealous  suitors  on  his  behalf. 
She  with  the  Presd — I  with  his  bosom  friend  Mr.  Butler. 
I  have  written  him  two  letters  containing  Mr.  Pettrich's 
1  Persico  was  the  artist  selected  for  the  tympanum  of  the  Capitol. 


i838]  PETTRICH,    THE    SCULPTOR  379 

history  &c.  Mrs.  Butler  came  to  see  me  in  consequence, 
and  seemed  so  tenderly  interested,  that  I  have  great 
hopes,  though  she  says  Mr.  B.  can  say  nothing  at  present. 
I  drew  up  an  account  of  Mr.  Pettrich  which  appeared  in 
the  Globe  and  Intelligencer  and  which  Mrs  Tayloe  is 
going  to  send  to  the  New  York  Mirror.  She  and  I  have 
kept  up  a  correspondence  of  notes  for  a  week  past  and 
are  both  of  us  solicitous  and  impatient  for  the  Presi- 
dent's decision,  as  we  have  both  during  the  last  winter 
seen  poor  Mr.  P.  almost  daily.  She  has  been  able  to  do 
much  more  for  him  than  I  have  and  most  liberally  as- 
sisted him  in  the  pecuniary  way  for  he  has  fallen  into 
great  difficulties.  I  cannot  tell  you  how  much  I  feel  for 
him  and  his  poor  little  wife.  He  has  such  a  warm  grate- 
ful heart  that  no  one  can  know  him  without  being  in- 
terested for  him.  I  think  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Butler  will  be 
his  assisting  friends,  in  case  he  does  not  get  work,  for 
they  are  most  benevolent  people — sincere  zealous  Chris- 
tians. The  more  I  know  the  beter  I  like  this  lovely 
family.  Most  happy  is  Mr.  Van  B.  in  having  such  a 
friend  and  adviser 


FROM  MRS.  MADISON 

Montpellier  Sept.  ioth  1838. 

Yours,  of  the  6th  my  ever  dear  friend  has  come  to 
make  me  blush  for  my  delinquency,  nor  will  I  now  add  a 
long  apology  for  an  ungracious  silence,  as  is  sometimes 
done  in  such  cases,  but  simply  tell  you  that  on  my  arrival 
at  home  after  a  warm  and  dusty  ride,  I  found  myself 
involved  in  a  variety  of  business — reading,  writing,  and 
flying  about  the  house,  garden,  and  grove — straining  my 
eyes  to  the  height  of  my  spirits,  until  they  became  in- 
flamed, and  frightened  into  idleness  and  to  quietly  sit- 


380  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [Sept. 

ting  in  drawing-room  with  my  kind  connexions  and 
neighbours — sometimes  talking  like  the  farmeress,  and 
often  acting  the  Character  from  my  rocking  chair;  being 
thus  obliged  to  give  up  one  of  my  most  prized  enjoy- 
ments that  of  corresponding  with  enlightened  and  loved 
friends  like  yourself. 

I  rejoice  to  hear  that  you,  Mr.  Smith,  Anne,  Julia  and 
your  son,  have  been  well,  and  wish  you  could  have  been 
all  here.  In  truth,  I  am  dissatisfied  with  the  location 
of  Montpellier,  from  which  I  can  never  separate  myself 
entirely,  when  I  think  how  happy  I  should  be  if  it  joined 
Washington,  where  I  could  see  you  always,  and  my 
valued  acquaintance  also  of  that  city,  among  the  first  of 
whom  is  dear  Mrs.  Bomford. — I  rejoice  too  that  my  dear 
Hannah  is  safe  from  the  eating  of  grapes — be  pleased 
to  give  her  an  affectionate  kiss  from  me  as  well  as  her 
little  daughters.  I  am  gratified  at  Dr.  Sewall's  remem- 
brance, and  but  for  recreant  eyes,  I  should  have  enclosed 
him  a  book  ere  this. 

I  cannot  express  dear  friend  how  much  I  was  affected 
at  your  observations  on  past  attachments,  and  events, 
unless  by  showing  my  resemblance  to  you,  in  the  de- 
voted and  lively  affection  I  bear  to  my  early  friends  and 
associates — I  must  refrain  however  from  zvriting  much 
more  now,  than  that  I  will  apply  to  Mrs.  Willes  and 
some  of  my  own  people  for  the  nurse  you  desire  and  if 
a  suitable  opp'y  should  offer,  send  her  to  you — The  one 
I  loaned  Mrs.  Randolph  was  totally  unfit  for  the  ser- 
vice of  small  children. 

Anna  has  gone  to  a  large  party  for  the  day  and  even- 
ing but  I  hope  will  return  in  time  to  add  her  respectful 
love  for  you,  with  mine  for  Mrs.  Smith,  Anne  and  Julia 
— for  your  son  too  when  he  returns.  A.  and  myself 
never  enjoyed  better  health  than  now,  and  we  shall  take 


Mrs.  James   Madison. 
After  a  water-color  by  Dr.  William  Thornton. 


i839]    MRS.    MADISON    IN    RETIREMENT      381 

heed  of  your  good  counsel  by  preserving  all  sorts  of 
fruit,  which  with  us  has  been  abundant,  as  well  as 
vegetables,  tho'  the  prospect  for  a  winter  store  of  them, 
is  not  good. 

When  you  see  our  amiable  neighbours,  of  the  whole 
square,  present  me  most  kindly  to  them — also  to  Mrs. 
Lear  Mrs.  Thornton  and  Mrs.  Graham. 

I  left  some  things  of  great  value  to  me  in  my  house  and 
am  glad  to  find  from  John's  account  that  the  depredation 
did  not  amount  to  more  than  petty  larceny. 

Ever  your  own 
D.  P.  Madison 


FROM  J.  BAYARD  H.  SMITH 

White  Sulphur  Springs 
Greenbrier  Court,  July  29,  1839 

My  Dear  Mother  : 

On  Sunday  afternoon  the  day  I  last  wrote  you  I  bade 
adieu  to  Montpelier  and  its  kind  and  hospitable  mistress, 
having  spent  a  few  very  pleasant  and  quiet  days.  Miss 
Payne  is  as  amiable  as  ever.  Two  afternoons  were 
spent  in  riding  on  horseback  with  Mr.  Todd.1  We  took 
such  long  rides  that  we  did  not  return  until  9  or  10  oclock. 
Mrs.  Madison  appears  to  live  quietly,  as  while  I  was  with 
her  there  was  no  company,  tho'  she  said  that  the  house 
had  been  full  most  of  the  time  since  her  return.  Qn  the 
first  day  she  had  twenty  to  dine.  We  did  not  reach 
Charlottsville  until  12  ocl.  that  night,  having  in  our 
little  stage  five  persons,  two  seats  and  only  two  horses. 
How  inferior  the  travelling  in  the  South  is  in  every 
respect  to  that  in  the  North.  Here  we  have  bad  horses, 
bad  vehicles,  bad  roads,  bad  public  houses,  bad  bedding, 

1  Mrs.  Mndison's  graceless  son,  John  Payne  Todd. 


382  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [July 

dirty,  miserably  clothed  negroes  to  wait,  nothing  wear- 
ing the  appearance  of  comfort  or  neatness;  even  in  the 
little  villages  you  pass  every  thing  bears  the  aspect  of 
the  want  of  comfort  and  tidiness  and  finish,  the  houses 
unpainted,  no  glass  in  the  windows,  and  the  question  is 
often  asked  of  yourself  how  such  houses  &c  can  send 
forth  such  well  dressed  and  gentlemanly  persons.  In 
the  North  the  reverse  holds  good  in  every  instance. 
The  traveller  sees  not  only  comfort,  plenty,  prosperity, 
activity,  energy,  but  luxury  and  elegance  and  this  in 
much  newer  settled  countries  than  the  South.  Can  it 
be  that  the  existence  of  slavery  creates  this  difference? 
I  remained  one  day,  Monday,  in  Charlottsville  for  the 
purpose  of  visiting  its  two  grand  objects  of  attraction, 
Monticello  and  the  University.  These  I  need  not  de- 
scribe to  you  who  have  already  described  them  much 
better  than  I  could.  Mr.  Todd  at  parting  gave  me  a 
letter  of  introduction  to  Dr.  Griffith  one  of  the  Pro- 
fessors, but  upon  going  to  the  U.  I  was  informed  that  he 
was  absent  and  as  my  letter  was  an  open  one  I  took  the 
liberty  of  sending  it  to  one  who  remained,  Dr.  Cabel 
who  very  politely  showed  me  every  part.  It  is  a  beau- 
tiful institution  and  in  its  arrangements  &c.  surpasses 
any  other  I  have  seen.  Its  library  is  quite  large,  a  per- 
son dying  in  Richmond  lately  left  it  an  addition  of  5  or 
6  thousand  volumes. 

My  feelings  upon  reaching  the  summit  of  Monticello 
and  entering  the  house,  took  me  completely  by  surprise. 
I  rode  up  the  hill  at  a  gallop  without  thought,  but  when 
I  alighted  and  looked  around  me  the  associations  of  the 
place  began  to  rush  upon  my  mind  and  all  were  melan- 
choly and  sad.  Around  me  I  beheld  nothing  but  ruin 
and  change,  rotting  terraces,  broken  cabins,  the  lawn, 
ploughed  up  and  cattle  wandering  among  Italian  mould- 


i84i]  DECAY    OF    MONTICELLO  383 

ering  vases,  and  the  place  seemed  the  true  representa- 
tive of  the  fallen  fortunes  of  the  great  man  and  his 
family.  He  died  in  want,  almost  his  last  words  were 
that  if  he  lived  much  longer  a  negro  hut  must  be  his 
dwelling.  His  family  scattered  and  living  upon  the 
charity  of  the  world,  and  to  complete  the  picture  the 
simple  plain  granite  stone  that  marks  his  resting  place 
defaced  and  broken  and  not  even  a  common  slab  or  piece 
of  wood  to  distinguish  the  grave  of  his  loved  daughter, 
nothing  but  the  red  clay,  and  all  his  estate  even  the  dust 
of  his  body  the  possession  of  a  stranger.1  It  was  with 
difficulty  I  could  restrain  my  tears,  and  I  could  not  but 
exclaim,  what  is  human  greatness.  At  Montpelier  and 
Mount  Vernon  no  such  feelings  obtruded  themselves. 
All  wore  the  appearance  of  plenty  and  no  change  or  mis- 
fortune had  overwhelmed  them.     .     .     . 


PRESIDENTS    HOUSE    FORTY    YEARS   AGO 

[1841] 
"Walls,"  it  is  proverbially  said,  "have  ears,"  had  they 
likewise  tongues  what  important,  interesting  and  amus- 
ing facts  could  the  walls  of  the  President's  House  re- 
veal. What  a  variety  of  characters,  of  events,  of  scenes, 
recurs  to  the  mind  of  one  who  has  watched  the  muta- 
tions which  have  taken  place  in  this  dwelling  of  our  chief 
magistrates !  Each  successive  administration  seems  like 
a  complete  and  separate  drama  performed  by  new  sets  of 
performers.  How  changed  in  every  respect,  both  ex- 
ternally and  internally  is  this  National  Theatre.  The 
unfinished  and  comfortless  condition  of  the  presidential 
mansion  is  well  describel  by  Mrs.  Adams,  in  her  recently 
1  From  the  note  book. 


384  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

published  correspondance.  It  stood  on  the  wide  uncul- 
tivated common,  without  any  enclosure,  shelter  or  orna- 
ment, and  so  pervious  was  it  to  the  weather,  that  rain 
and  wind  found  access  even  to  its  best  sleeping  apart- 
ments. But  Mrs.  Adams  had  to  endure  these  discom- 
forts for  only  a  short  season,  and  whatever  her  husband 
might  have  felt  on  descending  from  his  high  station, 
she,  it  may  be  easily  imagined,  was  glad  to  return  to  the 
comfort  and  tranquility  of  her  own  happy  home.  Then 
came  Mr.  Jefferson.  Borne  on  the  full  tide  of  popu- 
larity, sustained  by  a  strong  and  triumphant  party,  with 
what  exhileration  of  spirit  must  he  have  entered  on  his 
new  theatre  of  action.  His  cabinet  was  formed  of  men 
of  the  highest  talents,  who  were  not  only  political,  but 
personal  friends,  whose  opinions,  interests  and  princi- 
ples were  so  identified  with  his  own,  that  the  different 
views  necessarily  taken  by  different  minds  of  the  same 
subjects,  never  produced  a  discordance  destructive  of 
unanimity  of  action.  Often  has  Mr.  Jefferson  been 
heard  to  declare  this  distinguishing  characteristic  of  his 
administration,  was  the  one  which  he  most  highly  appre- 
ciated. "In  fact,"  said  he  to  a  friend,  "  we  were  one 
family." 

When  he  took  up  his  residence  in  the  President's 
House,  he  found  it  scantily  furnished  with  articles 
brought  from  Philadelphia  and  which  had  been  used  by 
Genl.  Washington.  These  though  worn  and  faded  he 
retained  from  respect  to  their  former  possessor.  His 
drawing  room  was  fitted  up  with  the  same  crimson 
damask  furniture  that  had  been  used  for  the  same  pur- 
pose in  Philadelphia.  The  additional  furniture  neces- 
sary for  the  more  spacious  mansion  provided  by  the  gov- 
ernment, was  plain  and  simple  to  excess.  The  large 
East  room  was  unfinished  and  therefore  unused.     The 


i84i]  JEFFERSON'S   BIRD  385 

apartment  in  which  he  took  most  interest  was  his  cabi- 
net; this  he  had  arranged  according  to  his  own  taste 
and  convenience.  It  was  a  spacious  room.  In  the 
centre  was  a  long  table,  with  drawers  on  each  side,  in 
which  were  deposited  not  only  articles  appropriate  to  the 
place,  but  a  set  of  carpenter's  tools  in  one  and  small 
garden  implements  in  another  from  the  use  of  which  he 
derived  much  amusement.  Around  the  walls  were  maps, 
globes,  charts,  books,  &c.  In  the  window  recesses  were 
stands  for  the  flowers  and  plants  which  it  was  his  delight 
to  attend  and  among  his  roses  and  geraniums  was  sus- 
pended the  cage  of  his  favorite  mocking-bird,  which  he 
cherished  with  peculiar  fondness,  not  only  for  its  melodi- 
ous powers,  but  for  its  uncommon  intelligence  and  af- 
fectionate disposition,  of  which  qualities  he  gave  sur- 
prising instances.  It  was  the  constant  companion  of  his 
solitary  and  studious  hours.  Whenever  he  was  alone 
he  opened  the  cage  and  let  the  bird  fly  about  the  room. 
After  flitting  for  a  while  from  one  object  to  another,  it 
would  alight  on  his  table  and  regale  him  with  its  sweet- 
est notes,  or  perch  on  his  houlder  and  take  its  food  from 
his  lips.  Often  when  he  retired  to  his  chamber  it  would 
hop  up  the  stairs  after  him  and  while  he  took  his  siesta, 
would  sit  on  his  couch  and  pour  forth  its  melodious 
strains.  How  he  loved  this  bird!  How  he  loved  his 
flowers !  He  could  not  live  without  something  to  love, 
and  in  the  absence  of  his  darling  grandchildren,  his  bird 
and  his  flowers  became  objects  of  tender  care.  In  a 
man  of  such  dispositions,  such  tastes,  who  would  recog- 
nize the  rude,  unpolished  Democrat,  which  foreigners 
and  political  enemies  described  him  to  be.  Although 
Sir  Augustus  Foster1  in  his  notes  lately  published  has 

1  In  the  Quarterly  Review,  1841.  Henry  Adams  in  his  History  of  the 
United  States  (vol.  i,  p.  186)  quotes  it,  but  it  is  without  doubt  a  carica- 
ture of  Jefferson. 


386  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

thus  depicted  Mr.  Jefferson,  he  candidly  says,  he  be- 
lieved his  careless  toilette  and  unceremonious  manners 
to  be  mere  affectation,  assumed  to  win  popularity.  The 
picture  this  gentleman  has  drawn  of  Mr.  Jefferson  is  a 
mere  characature,  in  which  those  who  personally  knew 
him  cannot  discover  a  trait  of  resemblance.  If  his  dress 
was  plain,  unstudied  and  sometimes  old-fashioned  in  its 
form,  it  was  always  of  the  finest  materials;  in  his  per- 
sonal habits  he  was  fastidiously  neat ;  and  if  in  his  man- 
ners he  was  simple,  affable  and  unceremonious,  it  was 
not  because  he  was  ignorant  of,  but  because  he  despised 
the  conventional  and  artificial  usages  of  courts  and  fash- 
ionable life.  His  simplicity  never  degenerated  into  vul- 
garity, nor  his  affability  into  familiarity.  On  the  con- 
trary there  was  a  natural  and  quiet  dignity  in  his  de- 
meanour that  often  produced  a  degree  of  restraint  in 
those  who  conversed  with  him,  unfavorable  to  that  free 
interchange  of  thoughts  and  feelings  which  constitute 
the  greatest  charm  of  social  life.  His  residence  in  for- 
eign courts  never  imparted  that  polish  to  his  manners, 
which  courts  require,  and  though  possessed  of  ease,  they 
were  deficient  in  grace.  His  external  appearance  had 
no  pretentions  to  elegance,  but  it  was  neither  coarse  nor 
awkward,  and  it  must  be  owned  his  greatest  personal 
attraction  was  a  countenance  beaming  with  benevolence 
and  intelligence. 

He  was  called  even  by  his  friends,  a  national  man,  full 
of  odd  fancies  in  little  things  and  it  must  be  confessed 
that  his  local  and  domestic  arrangements  were  full  of 
contrivances,  or  conveniences  as  he  called  them,  pecu- 
liarly his  own  and  never  met  with  in  other  houses.  Too 
often  the  practical  was  sacrificed  to  the  fanciful,  as  was 
evident  to  the  most  superficial  observer,  in  the  location 
and  structure  of  his  house  at  Monticello.     "What  could 


i84i]         JEFFERSON'S    DUMB-WAITER  387 

have  induced  your  father,"  asked  a  friend,  "to  build  his 
house  on  this  high  peak,  a  place  so  difficult  of  access, 
where  every  drop  of  water  must  be  brought  from  the 
bottom  of  the  mountain  and  where  the  soil  is  so  parched 
and  sterile  that  it  is  to  be  feared  his  lawn,  his  shrubbery, 
his  garden  will  be  all  burned  up."  "I  have  heard  my 
father  say,"  replied  his  daughter,  "that  when  quite  a 
boy  the  top  of  this  mountain  was  his  favorite  retreat, 
here  he  would  bring  his  books  to  study,  here  would  pass 
his  holiday  and  leisure  hours :  that  he  never  wearied  of 
gazing  on  the  sublime  and  beautiful  scenery  that  spread 
around,  bounded  only  by  the  horizon,  or  the  far  off 
mountains;  and  that  the  indescribable  delight  he  here 
enjoyed  so  attached  him  to  this  spot,  that  he  determined 
when  arrived  at  manhood  he  would  here  build  his  family 
mansion." 

The  same  fanciful  disposition  characterized  all  his 
architectural  plans  and  domestic  arrangements ;  and  even 
in  the  President's  House  were  introduced  some  of  these 
favorite  contrivances,  many  of  them  really  useful  and 
convenient.  Among  these,  there  was  in  his  dining  room 
an  invention  for  introducing  and  removing  the  dinner 
without  the  opening  and  shutting  of  doors.  A  set  of 
circular  shelves  were  so  contrived  in  the  wall,  that  on 
touching  a  spring  they  turned  into  the  room  loaded  with 
the  dishes  placed  on  them  by  the  servants  without  the 
wall,  and  by  the  same  process  the  removed  dishes  were 
conveyed  out  of  the  room.  When  he  had  any  persons 
dining  with  him,  with  whom  he  wished  to  enjoy  a  free 
and  unrestricted  flow  of  conversation,  the  number  of 
persons  at  table  never  exceed  four,  and  by  each  indi- 
vidual was  placed  a  dumb-waiter,1  containing  everything 

1  Mrs.  Smith  describes  the  dumb-waiter  in  "A  Winter  in  Washington" 
Vol.  II,  p.  34. 


388  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

necessary  for  the  progress  of  the  dinner  from  beginning 
to  end,  so  as  to  make  the  attendance  of  servants  entirely 
unnecessary,  believing  as  he  did,  that  much  of  the  domes- 
tic and  even  public  discord  was  produced  by  the  muti- 
lated and  misconstructed  repetition  of  free  conversation 
at  dinner  tables,  by  these  mute  but  not  inattentive  lis- 
teners. William  McClure  and  Caleb  Lowndes,  both 
distinguished  and  well-known  citizens  of  Philadelphia 
were  invited  together  to  one  of  these  dinners.  Mr.  Mc- 
Clure who  had  travelled  over  great  part  of  Europe  and 
after  a  long  residence  in  Paris  had  just  returned  to  the 
U.  States,  could  of  course  impart  a  great  deal  of  impor- 
tant and  interesting  information  with  an  accuracy  and 
fullness  unattainable  through  the  medium  of  letters. 
Interesting  as  were  the  topics  of  his  discourse,  Mr.  Jef- 
ferson gave  him  his  whole  attention,  but  closely  as  he 
listened,  Mr.  McClure  spoke  so  low,  that  although  seated 
by  his  side,  the  president  scarcely  heard  half  that  was 
said.  "You  need  not  speak  so  low,"  said  Mr.  Jefferson 
smiling,  "you  see  we  are  alone,  and  oar  zvalls  have  no 
ears."  "I  have  so  long  been  living  in  Paris,  where  the 
walls  have  ears,"  replied  Mr.  McClure,  "that  I  have  con- 
tracted this  habit  of  speaking  in  an  undertone."  He 
then  described  the  system  of  espionage  established 
throughout  France  whose  vigilance  pervaded  the  most 
private  circles  and  retired  families,  among  whose  serv- 
ants one  was  sure  to  be  in  the  employment  of  the 
police. 

At  his  usual  dinner  parties  the  company  seldom  or 
ever  exceeded  fourteen,  including  himself  and  his  sec- 
retary. The  invitations  were  not  given  promiscuously, 
or  as  has  been  done  of  late  years,  alphabetically,  but  his 
guests  were  generally  selected  in  reference  to  their 
tastes,  habits  and  suitability  in  all  respects,  which  atten- 


i84i]      JEFFERSON'S    DINNER-PARTIES         389 

tion  had  a  wonderful  effect  in  making  his  parties  more 
agreeable,  than  dinner  parties  usually  are;  this  limited 
number  prevented  the  company's  forming  little  knots 
and  carrying  on  in  undertones  separate  conversations,  a 
custom  so  common  and  almost  unavoidable  in  a  large 
party.  At  Mr.  Jefferson's  table  the  conversation  was 
general;  every  guest  was  entertained  and  interested  in 
whatever  topic  was  discussed.  To  each  an  opportunity- 
was  offered  for  the  exercise  of  his  colqquial  powers  and 
the  stream  of  conversation  thus  enriched  by  such  various 
contributions  flowed  on  full,  free  and  animated :  of  course 
he  took  the  lead  and  gave  the  tone,  with  a  tact  so  true  and 
discriminating  that  he  seldom  missed  his  aim,  which  was 
to  draw  forth  the  talents  and  information  of  each  and  all 
of  his  guests  and  to  place  every  one  in  an  advantageous 
light  and  by  being  pleased  with  themselves,  be  enabled  to 
please  others.  Did  he  perceive  any  one  individual  silent 
and  unattended  to,  he  would  make  him  the  object  of  his 
peculiar  attention  and  in  a  manner  apparently  the  most 
undesigning  would  draw  him  into  notice  and  make  him 
a  participator  in  the  general  conversation.  One  instance 
will  be  given,  which  will  better  illustrate  this  trait  in  Mr. 
Jefferson's  manners  of  presiding  at  his  table,  than  any 
verbal  description.  On  an  occasion  when  the  company 
was  composed  of  several  distinguished  persons  and  the 
conversation  earnest  and  animated,  one  individual  re- 
mained silent  and  unnoticed;  he  had  just  arrived  from 
Europe,  where  he  had  so  long  been  a  resident,  that  on 
his  return  he  felt  himself  a  stranger  in  his  own  country 
and  was  totally  unknown  to  the  present  company.  Af- 
ter, seemingly,  without  design  led  the  conversation  to 
the  desired  point,  Mr.  Jefferson  turning  to  this  individual 
said,  "To  you  Mr.  C,  we  are  indebted  to  this  benefit,  no 
one  more  deserves  the  gratitude  of  his  country."     Every 


3QO  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

eye  was  turned  on  the  hitherto  unobserved  guest,  who 
honestly  looked  as  much  astonished  as  any  one  in  the 
company.  The  President  continued,  "Yes,  Sir,  the  up- 
land rice  which  you  sent  from  Algiers,  and  which  thus 
far  succeeds,  will,  when  generally  adopted  by  the  plant- 
ers, prove  an  inestimable  blessing  to  our  Southern 
states."  At  once,  Mr.  C.  who  had  been  a  mere  cypher 
in  this  intelligent  circle,  became  a  person  of  importance 
and  took  a  large  share  in  the  conversation  that  ensued. 
When  Mr.  Jefferson  took  up  his  residence  in  Wash- 
ington, on  becoming  the  President  of  the  U.  S.  he  did 
not  forget  that  he  was  a  fellow  citizen  of  its  inhabitants. 
While  Congress  was  in  session,  his  invitations  were  lim- 
ited to  the  members  of  this  body,  to  official  characters  and 
to  strangers  of  distinction.  But  during  its  recess,  the 
respectable  citizens  of  Alexandria,  George  Town  and 
Washington  were  generally  and  frequently  invited  to 
his  table.  On  one  occasion  the  Mayor  of  George  Town 
and  his  wife  were  among  the  guests  and  the  place  of 
honor,  on  Mr.  Jefferson's  right  hand  was  assigned  to  her. 
She  was  a  plain,  uneducated  woman,  but  wishing  to  do 
her  prettiest,  she  thought  she  must  talk  to  the  President 
and  having  heard  his  name  in  some  way,  though  she 
knew  not  how,  coupled  with  Carter's  mountain,  she  made 
a  still  more  awkward  inquiry  of  him,  than  Madm  Talley- 
rand made  of  Volney  when  he  dined  at  her  husband's 
table,  for  turning  to  Mr.  Jefferson,  she  asked  him  if  he 
did  not  live  close  by  Carter's  mountain." *  "Very  close," 
he  replied,  "it  is  the  adjoining  mountain  to  Monticello." 
"I  suppose  its  a  very  convenient  pleasant  place,"  per- 

1  During  the  revolution  the  British  under  Tarlton  invaded  Charlottes- 
ville where  the  legislature  was  temporarily  sitting,  and  Jefferson,  who  was 
Governor  of  Virginia  at  the  time,  fled  to  Carter's  Mountain  to  avoid  capture. 
His  enemies  said  he  was  a  coward,  but  he  would  have  been  a  fool  if  he  had 
not  run  away. 


i84ij  JEFFERSON'S    SERVANTS  391 

sisted  the  lady  not  observing  the  significant  frown  of  her 
husband,  or  the  inexpressible  smiles  of  the  rest  of  the 
company. 

"Why,  yes,"  answered  Mr.  Jefferson,  smiling,  "I  cer- 
tainly found  it  so,  in  the  war' time."  Being  puzzled  by 
this  reply  and  catching  a  glimpse  of  her  husband's  coun- 
tenance, she  forbore  any  further  inquiries  on  the  sub- 
ject, and  not  being  able  to  think  of  any  else  to  say  in 
which  the  President  might  be  interested,  she  remained 
silent  during  the  rest  of  the  entertainment. 

One  circumstance,  though  minute  in  itself,  had  cer- 
tainly a  great  influence  on  the  conversational  powers  of 
Mr.  Jefferson's  guests.  Instead  of  being  arrayed  in 
strait  parallel  lines,  where  they  could  not  see  the  coun- 
tenances of  those  who  sat  on  the  same  side,  they  en- 
circled a  round,  or  oval  table  where  all  could  see  each 
others  faces,  and  feel  the  animating  influence  of  looks 
as  well  as  of  words.  Let  any  dinner  giver  try  the  ex- 
periment and  he  will  certainly  be  convinced  of  the  truth 
of  this  fact.  A  small,  well  assorted  company,  seated 
around  a  circular  table  will  ensure  more  social  enjoy- 
ment, than  any  of  the  appliances  of  wealth  and  splen- 
dour, without  these  concomitants. 

The  whole  of  Mr.  Jefferson's  domestic  establishment 
at  the  Presidents  House  exhibited  good  taste  and  good 
judgement.  He  employed  none  but  the  best  and  most 
respectable  persons  in  his  service.  His  maitre-d'hotel 
had  served  in  some  of  the  first  families  abroad,  and 
understood  his  business  to  perfection.  The  excellence 
and  superior  skill  of  his  French  cook  was  acknowledged 
by  all  who  frequented  his  table,  for  never  before  had 
such  dinners  been  given  in  the  President's  House,  nor 
such  a  variety  of  the  finest  and  most  costly  wines.  In 
his  entertainments,  republican  simplicity  was  united  to 


392  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

Epicurean  delicacy ;  while  the  absence  of  splendour  orna- 
ment and  profusion  was  more  than  compensated  by  the 
neatness,  order  and  elegant  sufficiency  that  pervaded  the 
whole  establishment. 

He  secured  the  best  services  of  the  best  domestics, 
not  only  by  the  highest  wages,  but  more  especially  by 
his  uniform  justice,  moderation  and  kindness  and  by  the 
interest  he  took  in  their  comfort  and  welfare.  Without 
an  individual  exception  they  all  became  personally  at- 
tached to  him  and  it  was  remarked  by  an  inmate  of  his 
family,  that  their  watchful  cheerful  attendance,  seemed 
more  like  that  of  humble  friends,  than  mercenary  meni- 
als. During  the  whole  time  of  his  residence  here,  no 
changes,  no  dismissions  took  place  in  his  well-ordered 
household  and  when  that  time  expired  each  individual 
on  leaving  his  service,  was  enabled  by  his  generous  inter- 
ference, to  form  some  advantageous  establishment  for 
themselves,  and  in  losing  him  felt  as  if  they  had  lost 
a  father.  In  sickness  he  was  peculiarly  attentive  to  their 
wants  and  sufferings,  sacrificing  his  own  convenience  to 
their  ease  and  comfort.  On  one  occasion  when  the  fam- 
ily of  one  of  his  domestics  had  the  whooping  cough,  he 
wrote  to  a  lady  who  resided  at  some  distance  from  the 
city,  requesting  her  to  send  him  the  receipt  for  a  remedy, 
which  he  had  heard  her  say  had  proved  effectual  in  the 
case  of  her  own  children  when  labouring  under  this 
disease.  This  lady  relates  another  instance  of  his  kind 
consideration;  she  noticed  a  piece  of  furniture,  of  a 
rather  singular  form  as  she  was  passing  through  a  small 
parlour  leaning  on  his  arm  and  struck  by  its  beauty  as 
well  as  novelty,  stopped  to  enquire  its  use.  He  touched 
a  spring,  the  little  doors  flew  open,  and  disclosed  within, 
a  goblet  of  water,  a  decanter  of  wine,  a  plate  of  light 
cakes,  and  a  night-taper.     "I  often  sit  up  late,"  said  he, 


i84i]       JEFFERSON'S    IMPROVEMENTS         393 

"and  my  wants  are  thus  provided  for  without  keeping 
a  servant  up." 

The  place  of  coachman,  was  little  more  than  a  sinecure, 
as  his  handsome  chariot  and  four  beautiful  horses,  were 
never  used  except  when  his  daughters  visited  him.  He 
paid  no  visits  and  when  he  took  his  daily  ride,  it  was 
always  on  horseback  and  alone.  It  was  then  he  enjoyed 
solitude,  surrounded  only  by  the  works  of  nature  of 
which  he  was  a  fond  lover  and  great  admirer.  He  used 
to  explore  the  most  lonely  paths,  the  wildest  scenes 
among  the  hills  and  woods  of  the  surrounding  country, 
and  along  the  high  and  wooded  banks  of  the  Potomac. 
He  was  passionately  fond  of  botany,  not  a  plant  from  the 
lowliest  weed  to  the  loftiest  tree  escaped  his  notice,  dis- 
mounting from  his  horse  he  would  climb  rocks,  or  wade 
through  swamps  to  obtain  any  plant  he  discovered  or 
desired  and  seldom  returned  from  these  excursions  with- 
out a  variety  of  specimens  of  the  plants  he  had  met 
with.     .     .     . 

He  was  very  anxious  to  improve  the  ground  around 
the  President's  House ;  but  as  Congress  would  make  no 
appropriation  for  this  and  similar  objects,  he  was  obliged 
to  abandon  the  idea,  and  content  himself  with  enclosing 
it  with  a  common  stone  wall  and  sewing  it  down  in 
grass.  Afterwards  when  the  grisly  Bears,  brought  by 
Capt  Lewis  from  the  far  west,  (where  he  had  been 
to  explore  the  course  of  the  Missouri,)  were  confined 
within  this  enclosure  a  witty  federalist  called  it  the 
President's  bear-garden.  How  the  federalists  delighted 
to  turn  all  Mr.  Jefferson  did  or  said  into  ridicule! 
In  planning  the  improvement  of  these  grounds,  it  was 
Mr.  Jefferson's  design  to  have  planted  them  exclusively 
with  Trees,  shrubs  and  flowers  indigenous  to  our  native 
soil.     He  had  a  long  list  made  out  in  which  they  were 


394  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

arranged  according  to  their  forms  and  colours  and  the 
seasons  in  which  they  flourished.  To  him  it  would  have 
been  a  high  gratification  to  have  improved  and  orna- 
mented our  infant  City.  But  the  only  thing  he  could 
effect,  was  planting  Pennsylvania  Avenue  with  Lombard 
Poplars,  which  he  designed  only  for  a  temporary  shade, 
until  Willow  oaks,  (a  favorite  tree  of  his)  could  attain 
a  sufficient  size.  But  this  plan  had  to  be  relinquished  as 
well  as  many  others  from  the  want  of  funds. 

By  his  desire,  our  Consuls  at  every  foreign  port,  col- 
lected and  transmitted  to  him  seeds  of  the  finest  vege- 
tables and  fruits  that  were  grown  in  the  countries  where 
they  resided.  These  he  would  distribute  among  the 
market-gardeners  in  the  City  (for  at  that  time  there 
was  abundant  space,  not  only  for  gardens,  but  little 
farms,  within  the  City  bounds),  not  sending  them  but 
giving  himself  and  accompanying  his  gifts  with  the  in- 
formation necessary  for  their  proper  culture  and  man- 
agement, and  afterwards  occasionally  calling  to  watch 
the  progress  of  their  growth.  This  excited  the  emula- 
tion of  our  horticulturists,  and  was  the  means  of  greatly 
improving  our  markets.  For  their  further  encourage- 
ment, the  President  ordered  his  steward  to  give  the 
highest  prices  for  the  earliest  and  best  products  of  these 
gardens.  There  were  .two  nursery-gardens  he  took 
peculiar  delight  in,  partly  on  account  of  their  romantic 
and  picturesque  location  and  the  beautiful  rides  that  led 
to  them,  but  chiefly  because  he  discovered  in  their  pro- 
prietors, an  uncommon  degree  of  scientific  information, 
united  with  an  enthusiastic  love  of  their  occupation. 
Mr.  Mayne,  a  shrewd,  intelligent,  warm  hearted  Scotch- 
man, rough  as  he  was  in  his  manners  and  appearance, 
could  not  be  known,  without  being  personally  liked.  It 
was  he  who  introduced  into  this  section  of  our  country, 


i84i]    JEFFERSON    AS    A    PHILOSOPHER      395 

the  use  of  the  American  Thorn  for  hedges.  This  was  the 
favorite,  though  not  exclusive  object  of  his  zealous  in- 
dustry. Rare  fruits  and  flowers  were  his  pride  and 
delight :  this  similarity  of  tastes  made  Mr.  Jefferson  find 
peculiar  pleasure,  in  furnishing  him  with  foreign  plants 
and  seeds,  and  in  visiting  his  plantations  on  the  high 
banks  of  the  Potomac.  Although  the  President  made 
no  visits  in  the  city,  he  would  often  call  on  acquaintances, 
whose  houses  he  passed  in  his  rides,  and  show  a  lively 
interest  in  their  rural  improvements ;  with  such  he  would 
always  share  the  plants  and  seeds*  he  received  from 
abroad.  Mr.  Jefferson  was  known  in  Europe  as  much, 
if  not  more,  as  a  philosopher,  than  as  a  politician.  Mr. 
Jefferson's  acquaintance  in  this  wide  and  distinguished 
circle  in  Paris,  made  him  well  known  throughout  Eu- 
rope, and  when  he  became  President  his  reputation  as  a 
Philosopher  and  man  of  letters  brought  many  literary 
and  scientific  foreigners  to  our  country.  Among  others 
Baron  Humboldt,  one  day  in  answer  to  some  enquiries 
addressed  to  this  celebrated  traveller,  he  replied,  "I  have 
come  not  to  see  your  great  Rivers  and  Mountains,  but 
to  become  acquainted  with  your  great-men."  Of  these, 
he  held  Mr.  Jefferson  in  the  highest  estimation.  Soon 
after  the  Baron's  arrival  on  our  shores,  he  hastened  to 
Washington,  and  during  his  visit  to  our  city,  passed  many 
hours  of  every  day  with  Mr.  Jefferson.  Baron  Hum- 
boldt, formed  not  his  estimate  of  men  and  manners,  by 
their  habiliments  and  conventionalisms,  and  refined  as 
were  his  tastes,  and  polished  as  were  his  manners,  he  was 
neither  shocked  or  disgusted,  as  was  the  case  with  the 
British  Minister  (Mr.  Foster)  by  the  old  fashioned 
form,  ill-chosen  colours,  or  simple  material  of  the  Pres- 
ident's dress.  Neither  did  he  remark  the  deficiency  of 
elegance  in  his  person,  or  of  polish  in  his  manners,  but 


396  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [i84r 

indifferent  to  these  external  and  extrinsic  circumstances, 
he  easily  discerned,  and  most  highly  appreciated  the  in- 
trinsic qualities  of  the  Philosophic  Statesman  through 
even  the  homely  costume,  which  had  concealed  them 
from  the  ken  of  the  fastidious  diplomat. 

Were  all  travellers  like  Baron  Humboldt,  they  would 
obtain  much  more  correct  and  extensive  information  of 
the  countries  and  people  they  visited,  than  is  too  com- 
monly the  case.  He  was  most  truly  a  citizen  of  the 
world,  and  wherever  he  went  he  felt  himself  perfectly 
at  home.  Under  all  governments,  in  all  climes,  he  rec- 
ognized man  as  his  brother.  Kind,  frank,  cordial  in 
his  disposition,  expansive  and  enlightened  in  his  views, 
his  sympathies  were  never  chilled,  his  opinions  never 
warped  by  prejudice.  The  varieties  of  condition,  of 
character,  of  customs  he  met  with  among  the  nations  he 
visited,  were  never  subjected  to  the  test  of  his  own  feel- 
ings and  perceptions,  but  tried  by  the  universal  standard 
of  abstract  principles  of  utility,  justice,  goodness. 

His  visits  at  the  President's-House,  were  unshackled 
by  mere  ceremony  and  not  limited  to  any  particular 
hour.  One  evening  he  called  about  twilight  and  being 
shown  into  the  drawing  room  without  being  announced, 
he  found  Mr.  Jefferson  seated  on  the  floor,  surrounded 
by  half  a  dozen  of  his  little  grandchildren  so  eagerly  and 
noisily  engaged  in  a  game  of  romps  that  for  some  mo- 
ments his  entrance  was  not  perceived.  When  his  pres- 
ence was  discovered  Mr.  Jefferson  rose  up  and  shaking 
hands  with  him,  said,  "you  have  found  me  playing  the 
fool  Baron,  but  I  am  sure  to  you  I  need  make  no  appol- 
ogy."1 

Another  time  he  called  of  a  morning  and  was  taken 
into  the  Cabinet;  as  he  sat  by  the  table,   among  the 
1This  appears  in  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  II,  p.  34. 


i84i]  ANECDOTE    OF    HUMBOLDT  397 

newspapers  that  were  scattered  about,  he  perceived  one, 
that  was  always  filled  with  the  most  virulent  abuse  of 
Mr.  Jefferson,  calumnies  the  most  offensive,  personal 
as  well  as  political.  "Why  are  these  libels  allowed  ?" 
asked  the  Baron  taking  up  the  paper,  "why  is  not  this 
libelous  journal  suppressed,  or  its  Editor  at  least,  fined 
and  imprisoned  ?" 

Mr.  Jefferson  smiled,  saying,  "Put  that  paper  in  your 
pocket  Baron,  and  should  you  hear  the  reality  of  our 
liberty,  the  freedom  of  our  press,  questioned,  show  this 
paper,  and  tell  where  you  found  it."1 

Baron  Humboldt  was  fond  of  repeating  these  and  other 
similar  anecdotes  of  the  man  he  so  much  admired. 

A  French  traveller  of  distinction,  who  was  often  with 
Mr.  Jefferson,  mentioned  that  having  accompanied  hifn 
one  day  to  review  the  militia  of  the  district,  as  they  rode 
along  he  expressed  his  surprise  that  the  President  of  the 
U.  S.  who  was  commander  in  chief  of  our  military  forces 
should  on  this  occasion  go  in  his  citizen's  dress,  instead 
of  wearing  a  military  uniform,  and  enquired  his  reason 
for  so  doing,  "To  show,"  replied  Mr.  Jefferson,  "that 
the  civil  is  superior  to  the  military  power."2 

When  this  traveller  returned  to  France,  among  other 
enquiries  made  of  him  by  the  Emperor,  Napoleon  asked 
him,  "what  sort  of  government  is  that  of  the  U.  S.?" 
"One,  Sire,"  replied  he,  "that  is  neither  seen  or  felt." 

Mr.  Jefferson  had  no  levees,  but  received  visitors 
every  morning  at  certain  hours,  excepting  on  New 
Year's-day  and  the  Fourth  of  July.  On  these  grand  oc- 
casions not  only  the  President's  House,  but  the  city  was 
thronged  with  visitors  from  George  Town,  Alexandria 
and  the  surrounding  country.     They  were  national  festi- 

1  See  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  II,  p.  37. 

2 This  appears  in  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  I,  p.  202. 


398  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

vals,  on  which  the  doors  of  the  Presidential  mansion 
were  thrown  open  for  persons  of  all  classes,  where 
abundance  of  refreshments  were  provided  for  their 
entertainment.  On  Mr.  Jefferson's  accession  to  the 
Presidency  the  Mayor  and  corporation  had  waited  on 
him,  requesting  to  be  informed,  which  was  his  birthday, 
as  they  wished  to  celebrate  it  with  proper  respect. 
"The  only  birthday  I  ever  commemorate,"  replied  he, 
"is  that  of  our  Independence,  the  Fourth  of  July." * 
During  his  administration  it  was  in  truth  a  gala-day  in 
our  city.  The  well  uniformed  and  well  appointed  militia 
of  the  district,  the  Marine-Corps  and  often  other 
military  companies,  paraded  through  the  avenues  and 
formed  on  the  open  space  in  front  of  the  President's 
House,  their  gay  appearance  and  martial  musick,  en- 
livening the  scene,  exhilerating  the  spirits  of  the  throngs 
of  people  who  poured  in  from  the  country  and  adjacent 
towns.  At  that  time  there  were  no  buildings  no  in- 
cisures in  the  vicinity  of  the  President's  house,  but  a 
wide  extended  pleasant  and  grassy  common,  where  the 
inhabitants  found  pleasant  walks  and  the  herds  and 
flocks  abundant  pasture.  It  exhibited  really  a  charm- 
ing and  lively  scene  on  this  national  festival.  Tempo- 
rary tents  and  boothes  were  scattered  over  the  surface, 
for  the  accomodation  of  the  gay  crowds,  who  here 
amused  themselves  and  from  whence  there  was  a  good 
view  of  the  troops  as  they  marched  in  front  of  the  Pres- 
ident's-House ;  and  of  the  President,  the  heads  of  De- 
partments and  the  foreign  ministers  who  stood  around 
him  on  the  high  steps  of  the  house,  receiving  and  re- 
turning their  salutations  as  they  passed  in  review.  Mr. 
Jefferson's  tall  figure  and  grey  locks  waving  in  the  air, 
(for  he  always  on  these  occasions  stood  with  uncovered 

1  See  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  I,  p.  1 1. 


is4i]      FOURTH    OF    JULY    RECEPTIONS        399 

head),  was  easily  distinguished  among  the  other  official 
personages  who  surrounded  him.  After  this  review, 
the  soldiers  were  dismissed  to  mingle  with  their  fellow 
citizens  on  the  common,  while  the  officers  in  a  body  went 
to  the  President's-house,  where  the  great  Hall,  (not  then 
divided,  as  it  now  is1)  and  all  the  reception  rooms  were 
filled  with  company;  displaying  to  advantage  the  col- 
lected beauty  and  fashion,  the  wealth  and  respectability 
of  the  residents  of  the  District  of  Columbia.  Tables  in 
each  corner  of  the  largest-room  were  covered  with  con- 
fectionary, wines,  punch,  lemonade,  etc.  where  without 
the  intervention  of  servants,  the  company  could  partake 
of  their  refreshments.  There  was  little  form  or  cere- 
mony observed  at  these  re-unions.  Every  one  as  they 
entered  shook  hands  with  the  President,  who  stood  with 
a  cheerful  kindly  countenance  and  cordial  manner,  in  the 
centre  of  the  Drawing-Room2  to  receive  the  company; 
each  one  after  the  interchange  of  a  few  sentences,  gave 
place  to  others  and  mingled  with  the  various  groups  that 
promenaded  the  other  apartments.  The  national  airs 
played  by  the  Marine  Band,  which  was  stationed  in 
the  Hall,  awakened  patriotic  feelings,  as  well  as  gaiety. 
No  one  could  forget  that  it  was  the  Fourth  of  July! 

About  three  oclock  the  company  would  disperse,  the 
ladies  to  return  home,  the  gentlemen  to  re-assemble  at 
the  great  public  dinner,  where  the  most  respectable  cit- 
izens and  all  persons  connected  with  the  government, 
(the  President,  excepted,)  together  with  the  Foreign 
ministers,  united  in  celebrating  the  day  with  musick, 
wine  and  eloquence ;  for  the  toasts  given  on  the  occasion 
were  always  followed  with  a  speech  or  a  song.  Such 
forty  years  ago,  was  the  manner  in  which  the  Fourth 

1  It  was  restored  by  Mr.  McKim  in  1902. 

2  Now  known  as  the  blue  room. 


4oo  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

of  July  was  commemorated  in  Washington.  What  a 
change  since  then! 

The  first  of  January,  the  only  other  public  reception 
day,  the  same  out-of-door  hilarity  could  not,  of  course, 
take  place.  The  military  companies  after  parade  were 
dismissed,  with  exception  of  the  officers,  who  with  other 
citizens  thronged  to  the  President's  House.  Here  the 
arrangements  were  the  same  as  on  the  Fourth  of  July. 
Congress  being  in  session,  the  company  of  course  was 
more  numerous  and  interesting,  strangers  of  distinction 
from  all  parts  of  the  Union  at  this  season  resorted  to  the 
seat  of  government ;  even  our  savage  brethren  from  the 
woods  and  wilds  of  the  Far  west.  On  one  occasion  de- 
scribed by  Sir  A.  Foster  in  his  "Notices  of  the  U.  S"  he 
seems  to  think  the  President  failed  in  paying  due  respect 
to  the  gentlemen  of  the  diplomatic  corps.  "The  Presi- 
dent took  care  to  show  his  preference  on  New  Year's 
day,  by  giving  us,  (the  diplomatic  corps)  only  a  bow, 
while  with  them  he  entered  into  a  long  conversation." 
(Foster's  Notes  on  U.  S.). 

It  really  may  have  been  so,  and  not  only  the  Pres- 
ident but  the  whole  assembled  company  may  have  par- 
ticipated in  this  neglect,  so  lively  was  the  interest  and 
the  curiosity  excited  by  the  appearance  of  the  Osage- 
Chiefs  and  their  attendant  squaws.  And  likewise  of  the 
Tunisan  Minister,  Meley  Meley,  and  his  splendid  and 
numerous  suite.1  It  must  be  confessed  that  in  their 
turbaned  heads,  their  bearded  faces,  their  Turkish  cos- 
tume, rich  as  silk,  velvet,  cashmere,  gold  and  pearls 
could  make  it,  attracted  more  general  and  marked 
attention  than  the  more  familiar  appearance  of  the 
European  Ministers.     These  two  embassies,  one  from 

JSee  "A  Winter  in  Washington,"  Vol.  I,  p.  23  for  an  account  of  the 
Indians,  and  the  same  p.  20  for  the  Tunisian  minister. 


i84i]  COSTUMES    OF    OSAGES  401 

Africa  the  other  from  the  wilderness  of  the  Far  West, 
were  so  unique,  so  extraordinary,  so  strangely  contrasted, 
that  they  were  irresistibly  attractive  to  the  company  at 
large,  though  it  seems  scarcely  possible  that  the  Presi- 
dent should  have  been  so  exclusive  in  his  attention  to 
savage  chieftans,  as  to  have  neglected  proper  civilities 
to  the  representatives  of  royalty,  however  anxious  he 
might  have  been  to  court  democratic  popularity,  the  rea- 
son assigned  by  the  writer  for  his  plain  dress  and  plain 
manners. 

These  Osages,  were  noble  specimens  of  the  human- 
race,  and  would  have  afforded  fine  studies  for  the  painter 
or  sculptor.  Tall,  erect,  finely  proportioned  and  ma- 
jectic  in  their  appearance,  dignified,  graceful  and  lofty 
in  their  demeanour,  they  seemed  to  be  nature's  own 
nobility.  By  the  President's  desire  they  appeared  in 
their  own  national  costume.  In  their  deer-skin  mocco- 
sions  and  cloth  leggings  ornamented  with  embroidery 
and  fringes  of  coloured  beads,  their  faces  and  bodies  in 
full  paint,  or  as  we  would  say  in  full  dress  and  covered 
with  blankets,  worn  as  Spaniards  wear  their  cloaks, 
wrapped  gracefully  around,  leaving  the  right  arm  free. 
With  the  exception  of  a  tuft  of  hair  on  the  crown, 
the  head  was  entirely  and  smoothly  shaven.  Ear-rings, 
armlets,  and  a  silver  medal  of  Washington,  their  great 
father,  suspended  round  the  neck,  completed  their  toi- 
lette. The  habiliments  of  their  wives  had  been  left 
to  the  taste  of  the  lady  of  the  Secretary  of  war,  and 
great  was  her  difficulty  in  deciding,  what  they  should  be. 
Some  of  the  ladies  whom  she  called  to  the  consultation, 
proposed  silks  and  satins  of  the  gaudiest  colours,  others 
were  for  showy  and  rich  chintzes.  One,  rather  a  ro- 
mantic lady,  who  loved  the  picturesque,  voted  for  the 
blankets,   and  other  simple  articles  belonging  to  their 


4o2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

wildwood  costume.  The  middle  course  was  adopted,  and 
short  gowns  and  petticoats  were  provided  for  them  of 
showy,  large  figured  chintz,  without  any  trinkets  or  orna- 
ments, these  being  exclusively  appropriated  to  the  lords 
of  creation.  A  lady  placed  a  bunch  of  artificial  flowers 
in  the  hair  of  one  of  these  women,  who  instantly,  in- 
stinctively as  it  were,  drew  it  out,  carried  it  to  her  hus- 
band and  stuck  it  behind  his  ear ;  he  received  it  as  his  due 
and  as  a  matter  of  course. 

One  would  have  supposed  in  a  scene  so  novel  and 
imposing  as  was  that  day  exhibited  to  these  sons  of  the 
Forest,  that  some  indication  of  curiosity  or  surprise  might 
have  been  discovered  in  words,  looks  or  gestures,  but 
not  the  slightest  emotion  of  any  kind  was  visible.  Im- 
perturbable as  the  rocks  of  their  savage  homes,  they 
stood  in  a  kind  of  dignified  and  majestic  stillness,  calmly 
looking  on  the  gay  and  bustling  scene  around  them.  But 
no  one  that  looked  on  their  finely  formed  features  and  in- 
telligent countenances  could  have  mistaken  their  imper- 
turbability for  stupidity, — it  was  evidently  the  pride  of  the 
stoic,  dispising  and  therefore  subduing  the  indulgence  of 
natural  feeling.  Mr.  Jefferson  who  had  long  and  deeply 
studied  the  character  of  our  aboriginees  told  a  friend 
with  whom  he  was  conversing  on  this  subject,  that  he 
had  on  various  occasions  made  many  experiments,  and 
endeavours  by  the  exhibition  of  the  most  striking  and 
curious  objects  to  elicit  some  expression  of  astonishment 
or  surprise,  but  never,  except  in  a  single  instance,  suc- 
ceeded in  exacting  any  obvious  emotion,  and  this  was  on 
an  occasion  when  he  had  the  chiefs  of  a  remote  tribe  to 
dine  with  him.  During  the  progress  of  dinner,  strange 
and  incomprehensible  as  every  object  around  them  must 
have  been,  and  distasteful  as,  probably  the  mode  of 
cooking  was,  they  exhibited  no  emotion  whatever,  until 


i84i]  ICE   IN    MID-SUMMER  403 

the  wine,  in  coolers  filled  with  ice  were  placed  on  table. 
On  seeing  the  ice,  one  of  the  chiefs  looked  on  the  others 
with  an  expression  of  doubt  and  surprise,  to  which  their 
looks  responded.  To  satisfy  the  doubt  evidently  felt  by 
all,  the  elder  chief  took  hold  of  a  piece  of  ice,  started 
when  he  felt  it,  and  handed  it  to  his  companions,  who 
seemed  equally  startled.  It  must  be  noticed,  that  it  was 
a  hot  day  in  July.  The  indians  after  being  convinced 
it  was  ice,  began  talking  to  each  other  with  eagerness 
and  vehemence.  Mr.  Jefferson  turned  to  the  interpre- 
ter for  an  explanation.  "We  now  believe,"  said  the 
chief,  "that  what  our  brothers  told  us  when  they  came 
back  from  the  great  cities  was  all  true,  though  at  the 
time  we  thought  they  were  telling  us  lies,  when  they  told 
us  of  all  the  strange  things  they  saw,  for  they  never  saw 
anything  so  wonderful  as  this  that  we  now  see  and  feel. 
Ice  in  the  middle  of  summer !  We  now  can  believe  any- 
thing!" Meley-Meley  expressed  a  most  lively  interest 
about  these  Osages.  He  examined  their  forms  coun- 
tenances and  habits  and  was  particularly  struck  by  the 
mode  in  which  their  heads  were  shaved,  leaving  only 
a  tuft  of  hair  on  the  crown.  He  took  off  his  turban  and 
showed  them  that  his  head  was  shaven  after  the  same 
fashion,  and  enquired  if  their  people  had  always  worn  it 
so.  "Who  then  were  your  fathers?  where  did  your 
fathers  come  from?  did  they  come  from  my  country? 
for  in  this  and  other  things  you  do,  you  are  like  my 
people,  and  our  father  was  Ishmael."  Such  were  some 
of  the  observations  Meley-Meley  made  through  the 
medium  of  their  respective  interpreters. 

The  Tunisan  minister  was  the  lion  of  the  season  and 
during  the  winter,  he  and  his  splendid  suite  were  in- 
vited to  all  the  fashionable  parties,  where  he  could  not 
conceal  his  astonishment  at  the  freedom  with  which  he 


4o4  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

was  accosted  by  our  ladies  and  the  general  liberty  al- 
lowed them  in  society.  He  brought  most  sumptuous 
presents  for  the  officers  of  government  and  likewise  their 
wives.  But  in  compliance  with  our  laws,  these  presents 
could  not  be  accepted,  to  return  them  would  be  an  of- 
fence to  the  government  by  whom  they  were  sent,  the 
only  course  that  could  be  devised  was  to  have  them  pub- 
licly sold.  And  sold  they  were  much  to  the  regret  of  the 
ladies  to  whom  they  had  been  presented.  Rich  cash- 
mere shawls,  and  robes,  a  superb  silver  dressing-case, 
rare  essences  and  other  splendid  articles  for  female  use, 
were  all  disposed  of.  The  articles  designed  for  the 
officers  of  governments,  such  as  curious  and  richly  inlaid 
sabres,  muskets  etc.  were  deposited  in  the  State-Depart- 
ment, where  they  are  still  to  be  seen,  together  with  sim- 
ilar presents  from  other  governments.1 

When  Mr.  Jefferson's  daughters  were  with  him  they 
visited  and  received  visits  on  exactly  the  same  terms  as 
other  ladies  in  the  same  society.  There  had  been  a 
great  deal  of  difficulty  about  points  of  etiquette  with 
foreign  ministers.  The  President  had  decided  that 
our  home  ministers  (viz,  heads  of  Departments)  should 
take  precedence  of  foreign  ministers,  and  that  the  sen- 
ators should  receive  the  first  visit  from  our  own,  as  well 
as  foreign  ministers.  Exceptions  were  taken  to  both 
these  regulations  and  a  really  serious  matter  made  of 
it  by  the  English  minister,  Mr.  Merry,  who  threatened 
an  appeal  to  his  government.2  When  Mrs.  R.  Mr.  Jef- 
ferson's daughter,  arived,  Mrs.  Merry  wrote  her  a  note 
requesting  to  be  informed,  whether  she  wished  to  be 
visited  as  the  wife  of  a  member  of  congress,  or  as  the 

1  Very  few  are  now  there,  the  greater  part  having  been  deposited  with  the 
National  Museum. 

2  It  is  a  well-known  story.     Mrs.  Merry  inspired  the  dispute  and  her  hus- 
band nursed  it  till  it  grew  into  an  international  incident. 


i84i]  JEFFERSON    IN    THE   HOME   CIRCLE   405 

daughter  of  the  President.  Mrs.  R.  replied,  she  claimed 
no  distinction  whatever,  but  wished  only  for  the  same 
consideration  extended  to  other  strangers.  Even  when 
his  daughters  were  with  him,  Mr.  Jefferson  never  had 
Drawing-rooms,  or  even  private  evening  parties  and 
only  such  as  were  on  terms  of  personal  intimacy  ever 
made  evening  visits  to  the  President's  House.  His 
friends  and  intimate  acquaintance  enjoyed  in  these  even- 
ing visits  all  the  ease  and  freedom  of  the  domestic  circle. 
Mr.  Jefferson,  democrat  as  he  was,  and  accessible  as  he 
was  to  all  classes  of  his  fellow  citizens,  contrived  to  se- 
cure to  himself  the  pleasure  of  a  select  and  refined 
society,  without  resorting  to  any  of  the  offensive  and 
exclusive  forms  and  ceremonies,  which  in  European 
society  constitute  the  barriers  which  separate  the  differ- 
ent orders  of  society.  His  personal  demeanor,  simple 
and  affable  as  it  was,  had  a  restraining  dignity  which  re- 
pressed undue  familiarity  and  prevented  the  intrusion  of 
promiscuous  or  undesired  visitants.  In  this  home-circle, 
if  it  may  be  so  called,  Mr.  Jefferson  appeared  to  the 
greatest  advantage  as  a  man.  Public  station  and  public 
cares  were  equally  laid  side,  while  the  father  of  the 
family,  the  friend,  the  companion,  the  man  of  letters, 
the  philosopher,  charmed  all  who  were  thus  admitted  to 
his  private  society.  His  grand-children  would  steal  to 
his  side,  while  he  was  conversing  with  his  friends,  and 
climb  his  knee,  or  lean  against  his  shoulder,  and  he  with^ 
out  interrupting  the  flow  of  conversation  would  quietly 
caress  them.  Frank  and  communicative,  (as  some  said 
even  to  excess,)  he  would  talk  of  any  thing  and  every 
thing  that  interested  these  around  him.  Some  of  his 
friends  most  delighted  in  hearing  him  talk  of  himself, 
of  his  residence  abroad,  the  character  and  scenes  that 
there  fell  under  his  observation,  these,  he  delineated 


4o6  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

with  such  vividness  and  fidelity  that  the  impressions 
originally  made  on  himself  were  transferred  to  his 
hearers  and  that  kind  of  sympathy  was  excited,  which 
mingles  mind  with  mind  and  heart  with  heart. 

Those  who  have  enjoyed  his  society  in  the  home-circle 
will  acknowledge  that  it  was  there  they  most  admired 
and  loved  Mr.  Jefferson,  and  will  thus  justify  an  asser- 
tion of  one  of  his  most  violent  and  imbittered  political 
opponents.  "No  one,"  said  Judge  P[a]tt[erso]n, 
(Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court),  "can  know  Mr.  Jeffer- 
son and  be  his  personal  enemy.  ,  Few,  if  any,  are  more 
oposed  to  him  as  a  politician  than  I  am,  and  until  re- 
cently I  utterly  disliked  him  as  a  man  as  well  as  a 
politician.  And  how  was  that  dislike  removed?  By 
travelling  together,  three  day.  I  was  on  one  of  my 
southern  circuits,  and  in  a  public  stage  found  myself 
seated  by  his  side.  I  did  not  know  who  he  was,  neither 
did  he  know  me  for  the  first  day  we  travelled  together, 
but  conversed  like  travellers  on  general  and  common 
place  subjects.  By  degrees  the  conversation  became 
more  specific  and  interesting,  political  as  well  as  other 
topics  were  discussed.  I  was  highly  pleased  with  his 
remarks,  for  though  we  differed  on  many  points  he  dis- 
played an  impartiality,  a  freedom  from  prejudice,  that 
at  that  period  were  unusual.  There  was  a  mildness  and 
amenity  in  his  voice  and  manner  that  at  once  softened 
any  of  the  asperities  of  />ar/y-spirit  that  I  felt,  for  of 
course  we  did  not  converse  long  without  the  mutual 
discovery  that  he  was  a  democrat  and  I  a  federalist.  At 
the  conclusion  of  our  day's  journey,  when  we  left  the 
carriage,  the  first  greeting  of  the  host,  made  known  to 
me  that  my  fellow  traveller  was  Mr.  Jefferson.  He 
soon  informed  himself  of  my  name.  We  travelled  two 
other  days  together  and  at  the  end  of  our  journey,  parted 


i84i]  AVERSION    TO    MOURNING  407 

friends,  though  still  as  politicians,  diametrically  opposed ; 
I  repeat  that  no  man  can  be  personally  acquainted  with 
Mr.  Jefferson  and  remain  his  personal  enemy." 

The  value  of  the  testimony  thus  given  in  Mr.  Jeffer- 
son's favour,  will  be  more  sensibly  felt  by  a  knowledge 
of  Judge  P[a]tt[erso]n's  common  opinions  of  his  politi- 
cal opponents.  On  an  occasion  when  he  had  the  members 
of  the  Jersey-Bar  dining  at  his  table,  along  with  other 
company,  some  of  them  ladies,  as  usual  when  the  wine 
was  circulating  after  dinner,  toasts  were  given ;  a  young 
lady  totally  ignorant  of  politics,  having  heard  the  elo- 
quence of  Mr.  Giles,  highly  extolled,  in  the  simplicity  of 
her  heart,  when  called  upon  for  a  toast  gave  "Mr. 
Giles." 1  Judge  P.  looked  astounded,  and  almost  angrily 
exclaimed,  while  he  struck  the  table  violently  with  his 
hand,  "You  had  better  give  the  devil  next!"  Yet  this 
man  did  full  justice  to  Mr.  Jefferson,  whose  political 
character  he  looked  upon  in  the  same  light  as  that  of 
Mr.  Giles. 

Although  Mr.  Jefferson  had  been  called  a  visionary 
man  and  certainly  did  love  to  theorize  and  philosophize 
on  the  perfect-ability  of  man,  yet  he  was  likewise  an 
essentially  practical  man,  and  like  Franklin  studied  the 
most  minute  circumstances  that  influenced  the  welfare, 
comfort  and  improvement  of  social  life.  Among  other 
customs  which  he  thought  did  more  harm  than  good, 
was  the  wearing  mourning  for  deceased  relatives,  and 
making  very  expensive  funerals.  Could  these  observ- 
ances be  confined  to  the  rich,  they  would  be,  he  said, 
comparatively  harmless,  but  as  such  a  limitation  was 
impossible,  the  only  way  to  check  the  evil,  was  by  the 
wealthy   class   renouncing  these   expensive   shows   and 

1  William  Branch  Giles  of  Virginia,  an  exceedingly  intemperate  and 
extreme  Republican. 


4o8  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [xft4i 

forms  of  grief,  which  to  the  poorer  classes  were  not 
only  inconvenient,  but  often  ruinous. 

On  this  point,  he  enforced  precept  by  example.  When 
he  lost  his  almost  idolized  daughter  Mrs.  E.[ppes]  keenly 
and  deeply  as  he  felt  this  bereavement,  neither  he  nor 
any  of  his  family  put  on  mourning,  neither  did  he  make 
any  change  in  his  social  habits,  but  continued  his  dinner 
parties  and  received  company  as  usual,  considering  it  as 
a  portion  of  his  public  duty  to  receive  and  entertain  mem- 
bers of  Congress  and  other  official  characters.  In  this 
he  went  too  far  and  miscalculated  the  common  feelings 
of  humanity,  which  on  such  an  occasion  would  have  ap- 
proved rather  than  condemned  his  secluding  himself  for 
a  while  from  society;  he  had  not  sufficient  faith  in  the 
sympathies  of  human  nature  and  imputed  to  it  an  un- 
deserved degree  of  selfishness,  when  he  believed  it  his 
duty  to  sink  the  private  in  the  public  man.  At  the  time 
persons  said,  "What  a  stoic  Mr.  Jefferson  is."  But  it 
was  not  stoicism,  as  those  who  saw  him  watching  over 
the  declining  life  of  this  beloved  child,  might  have  told 
them.  During  some  time  before  her  decease,  he  had 
her  with  him  at  Monticello,  where  he  devoted  himself 
exclusively  to  her.  She  suffered  less  and  breathed 
more  easily  in  the  open  air,  and  was  daily  drawn 
for  hours  together  through  the  grounds  in  a  low  gar- 
den-chair, he  never  allowed  any  one  to  draw  this  chair 
but  himself.  Dearly  did  he  prize,  deeply  did  he  grieve 
for  his  lovely  and  beloved  child.  Mr.  Jefferson  was 
no  stoic. 

As  the  term  of  his  official  life  drew  towards  a  close, 
he  looked  brighter  and  happier.  Could  it  be  otherwise, 
even  allowing  him  to  be  an  ambitious  man,  for  had  he 
not  gained  the  goal  and  won  the  highest  prize,  the  am- 
bition of  an  american  citizen  could  obtain?     He  was 


i84i]  FRIENDSHIP    FOR    MADISON  409 

urged  by  his  friends  to  stand  another  election,  but  posi- 
tively declined,  "He  longed,"  as  he  expressed  himself  in 
a  letter  to  his  daughter,  "he  longed  for  the  privacy  and 
tranquility  of  home."  To  this  home  he  looked  as  a 
secure  and  peaceful  haven,  where  he  might  repose  after 
the  excitements  and  peril  of  a  stormy  voyage.  He  san- 
guinely  calculated  on  Mr.  Madison  as  his  successor,  and 
consequently  on  a  continuance  of  the  same  policy  that  had 
governed  his  own  administration.  For  this  excellent 
man,  Mr.  Jefferson  felt  not  only  the  esteem  and  con- 
fidence of  the  most  perfect  friendship,  but  an  almost 
paternal  affection  and  was  as  ambitious  for  him,  as  he 
had  ever  been  for  himself.  There  are  few  if  any  in- 
stances of  friendship  so  perfect,  so  unselfish  as  that 
which  entered  these  two  great  men.  In  a  letter  to  a 
friend,  Mr.  Madison  gives  the  following  account  of  the 
commencement  and  growth  of  this  friendship. 

"I  was  a  stranger  to  Mr.  Jefferson  till  the  year  1776 
when  he  took  his  seat  in  the  first  legislature  under  the 
constitution  of  Virginia,  then  newly  framed ;  being  at  the 
time,  myself,  a  member  of  that  body,  and  for  the  first 
time  a  member  of  any  public  body.  The  acquaintance 
then  made  with  him  was  very  slight,  the  distance  be- 
tween our  ages  being  considerable  and  other  distances 
being  more  so.  During  part  of  the  time  whilst  he  was 
governor  of  the  State,  I  had  a  seat  in  the  council  associ- 
ated with  him.  Our  acquaintance  then  became  intimate 
and  a  friendship  was  formed,  which  was  for  life  and 
which  was  never  interrupted  in  the  slightest  degree,  for 
a  moment.', 

No  wonder  then  that  Mr.  Jefferson  looked  forward 
with  satisfaction  to  the  close  of  his  political  life,  believing 
as  he  confidently  did  that  Mr.  Madison  would  fill  the 
place  he  vacated,  and  would  carry  out  those  principles 


4io  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

and  measures  which  he  sincerely  thought  would  best  pro- 
mote his  country's  good. 

On  the  morning  of  Mr.  Madison's  inauguration,  he 
asked  Mr.  Jefferson  to  ride  in  his  carriage  with  him  to 
the  Capitol,  but  this  he  declined,  and  in  answer  to  one 
who  enquired  of  him  why  he  had  not  accompanied  his 
friend,  he  smiled  and  replied,  "I  wished  not  to  divide 
with  him  the  honors  of  the  day,  it  pleased  me  better  to  see 
them  all  bestowed  on  him."  A  large  procession  of  cit- 
izens, some  in  carriages,  on  horse  back,  and  still  larger 
on  foot,  followed  Mr.  Madison  along  Pennsylvania  ave- 
nue to  the  Capitol,  among  those  On  horse-back  was  Mr. 
Jefferson ;  unattended  by  even  a  servant,  undistinguished 
in  any  way  from  his  fellow  citizens.  Arrived  at  the  Cap- 
itol he  dismounted  and  "Oh!  shocking,"  as  many,  even 
democrats,  as  well  as  the  British  minister  Mr.  Foster, 
might  have  exclaimed,  he  hitched  his  own  horse  to  a 
post,  and  followed  the  multitude  into  the  Hall  of  Repre- 
sentatives.1 Here  a  seat  had  been  prepared  for  him 
near  that  of  the  new  President,  this  he  declined,  and 
when  urged  by  the  Committee  of  arrangement,  he  re- 
plied, "This  day  I  return  to  the  people  and  my  proper 
seat  is  among  them."  Surely  this  was  carrying  democ- 
racy too  far,  but  it  was  not  done,  as  his  opponents  said, 
from  a  mere  desire  of  popularity;  he  must  have  known 
human  nature  too  well,  not  to  know  that  the  People  de- 
light to  honor,  and  to  see  honored  their  chosen  favorite ; 
besides  what  more  popularity  could  he  now  desire,  his  cup 
was  already  running  over  and  could  have  held  no  more. 
No,  he  wished  by  his  example  as  well  as  his  often  ex- 
pressed opinions,  to  establish  the  principle  of  political 
equality. 

1  Here  is  probably  the  origin  of  the  apocryphal  story  that  Jefferson 
hitched  his  horse  to  the  fence  when  he  was  inaugurated  himself. 


i84i]      JEFFERSON'S    LAST    RECEPTION        411 

After  the  ceremony  of  Inauguration,  Mr.  Madison  fol- 
lowed by  the  same  crowd  returned  home  to  his  private 
house,  where  he  and  Mrs.  Madison  received  the  visits  of 
the  foreign  ministers  and  their  fellow  citizens.  It  was 
the  design,  as  generally  understood,  after  paying  their 
respects  to  the  new  President,  that  citizens  should  go 
to  the  President's  House  and  pay  a  farewell  visit  to 
Mr.  Jefferson ;  but  to  the  surprise  of  everyone,  he  him- 
self, was  among  the  visitors  at  Mr.  Madison's.  A  lady 
who  was  on  terms  of  intimacy  with  the  ex-President 
and  could  therefore  take  that  liberty,  after  telling  him 
that  the  present  company  and  citizens  generally,  desired 
to  improve  this  last  opportunity  of  evincing  their  re- 
spects by  waiting  on  him,  added  her  hopes  that  he  would 
yet  be  at  home  in  time  to  receive  them.  "This  day 
should  be  exclusively  my  friend's,"  replied  he,  "and  I 
am  too  happy  in  being  here,  to  remain  at  home."  "But 
indeed  Sir  you  must  receive  us,  you  would  not  let  all 
these  ladies  all  your  friends  find  an  empty  house,  for  at 
any  rate  we  are  determined  to  go,  and  to  express  even 
on  this  glad  occasion,  the  regret  we  feel  on  losing  you." 
His  countenance  discovered  some  emotion,  he  made  no 
reply,  but  bowed  expressively.  The  lady  had  no  posi- 
tive information  to  give  those  who  had  requested  her  to 
enquire  whether  Mr.  Jefferson  would  receive  company, 
but  watching  his  motions,  found  that  after  a  little  while 
he  had  silently  slipped  through  the  crowd  and  left  the 
room.  This  she  communicated  to  the  company,  who 
with  one  accord  determined  to  follow  him  to  the  Presi- 
dent's house.  It  was  evident  that  he  had  not  expected 
this  attention  from  his  friends  and  fellow  citizens,  as  his 
whole  house-hold  had  gone  forth  to  witness  the  cere- 
monies of  the  day.  He  was  alone;  but  not,  therefore, 
the  less  happy,  for  not  one  of  the  eager  crowd  that  fol- 


4i2  WASHINGTON    SOCIETY  [1841 

lowed  Mr.  Madison,  was  as  anxious  as  himself  to  show 
every  possible  mark  of  respect  to  the  new  President. 

How  mournful  was  this  last  interview!  Every  one 
present  semed  to  feel  it  so,  and  as  each  in  turn  shook 
hands  with  him,  their  countenances  expressed  more 
forcibly  than  their  words  the  regret  they  felt  on  losing 
one  who  had  been  the  uniform  friend  of  the  city,  and  of 
the  citizens,  with  whom  they  had  lived  on  terms  of  hos- 
pitality and  kindness. 

In  the  evening  there  was  an  Inauguration  Ball.  Mr. 
Jefferson  was  among  the  first  that  entered  the  Ball- 
room; he  came  before  the  President's  arrival.  "Am  I 
too  early?"  said  he  to  a  friend.  "You  must  tell  me  how 
to  behave  for  it  is  more  than  forty  years  since  I  have 
been  to  a  ball." 

In  the  course  of  the  evening,  some  one  remarked  to 
him,  "You  look  so  happy  and  satisfied  Mr.  Jefferson,  and 
Mr.  Madison  looks  so  serious  not  to  say  sad,  that  a  spec- 
tator might  imagine  that  you  were  the  one  coming  in, 
and  he  the  one  going  out  of  office." 

"There's  good  reason  for  my  happy  and  his  serious 
looks,"  replied  Mr.  Jefferson,  "I  have  got  the  burthen 
off  my  shoulders,  while  he  has  now  got  it  on  his." 

Thus  closed  Mr.  Jefferson's  eight  years  residence  in 
Washington.  The  constant  interest  he  had  taken  in  the 
improvement  of  the  city,  the  frank  hospitality  he  had  ex- 
tended to  the  citizens,  made  his  departure  the  subject 
of  general  regret. 


i842]  CLAY'S    CONGRATULATIONS  413 


FROM  HENRY  CLAY 

My  Dear  Madam 

I  received  your  kind  invitation  to  your  party,  given 
on  the  interesting  occasion  of  your  sons  marriage,1  and 
fully  intending  to  attend  it,  I  did  not  before  reply  to 
your  friendly  note.  There  is  no  house  in  the  city  to 
which  I  would  go,  with  more  pleasure,  under  such  cir- 
cumstances; but  the  badness  of  the  evening,  and  the 
delicate  state  of  my  health  will  not  allow  me  to  venture 
out,  and  I  must  therefore  limit  myself  to  a  cordial  con- 
gratulation on  the  event  which  has  happened,  and  the 
expression  of  a  fervent  wish  that  the  young  couple  may 
realize  all  the  happiness  which  they  anticipate,  and  all 
that  their  parents  desire  for  them. 

With  great  esteem  and  regard 

I  am  faithfully  yr's 

H.  Clay 

Mrs.  M.  H.  Smith,  Wash'n  7  Mar.  42 

Jonathan  Bayard  H.  Smith  married  Henrietta  E.  Henley,  daughter  of 
Commodore  John  Dandridge  Henley,  U.  S.  N.,  a  nephew  of  Mrs.  George 
Washington,  March  3,  1842. 


THE   END 


INDEX 


Abbott,  Jacob,  370 

Adams,  John  Quincy,  relations 
with  Calhoun,  163;  Crawford's 
preference  for,  175;  asks  Craw- 
ford to  remain  in  his  cabinet, 
178;  making  his  cabinet,  180; 
election  of,  181,  182,  186,  187; 
Crawford,  letter  to,  193;  presi- 
dent of  Columbian  Institute, 
208 ;  feeble  health  of,  257 ;  rents 
house  of  Commodore  Porter, 
258;  in  House  of  Representa- 
tives, 325 

Adams,  Mrs.  John  Quincy,  150, 
170,  248 

Antrobus,  Mr.,  135 

Armstrong,  Robert,  89,  113,  115 

Astley,  Mr.,  148 

Bacon,  Ezekiel,  93 

Bagot,  Sir  Charles  and  Mrs.,  134, 

135 
Bailey,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Theodorus, 

19 
Bailey,  Mrs.  Theodorus,  18 
Bailey,  Theodorus,  144,  211 
Baldwin,  Henry,  147,  283 
Bankhead,  Mr.,  70,  72 
Bankhead,  Mrs.  (Anne  Jefferson), 

67,  74 
Barbour,  Cornelia,  331 
Barbour,  James,  137,  138,  208,  209, 

325 
Barbour,  Miss,  137,  138 
Barbour,  Mrs.  James,  208 
Barbour,    Philip    Pendleton,    227, 

228,  268,  279 


Barlow,  Joel,  48,  49,  55 

Barlow,  Mrs.  Joel,   136,   139,  165, 

205 
Barnet,  Mrs.,  258 
Barney,  Joshua,  102 
Barret,  Mr.,  346 
Barret,  Mrs.,  238,  345 
Barry,  Wm.  T.,  311 
Barton,  Col.,  164 
Bayard,  James  A.,  10,  24,  26,  344, 

362 
Bayard,  John  Murray,  88 
Bayard,  Mrs.  James  A.,  56,  57 
Beckley,  John,  45 
Beckley,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John,  43 
Bell,  Mrs.,  1,  5 

Bently,  Mrs.,  100,  101,  104,  107 
Benton,  Mrs.  Thomas  H.,  294 
Berrian,  John  H.,  282,  307,  311 
Berry,  Duke  of,  150 
Beverly,  the  Misses,  161 
Biddle,  Nicholas,  223,  307 
Bladensburg,  battle  of,   100 
Blake,  Mr.,  135 

Bleecker,  Anthony,   166,   168,  169 
Bomford,    George,    211,   314,   346, 

347,  380 
Bomford,  Col.  and  Mrs.   George, 

139,  190,  247,  268 
Bomford,  Mrs.  George,    136,   145, 

156,  157,  209,  210,  245,  308,  354, 

367 
Bonaparte,  Napoleon,  267 
Bordeaux,  Mrs.,   156,  206,  354 
Bourquinay,   Mr.,   135 
Boyd,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Samuel,  166 
Boyd,  Samuel,  163 


415 


416 


INDEX 


Bradley,  Dr.,  99 

Bradley,  Mrs.,  118,  152,  159,  290 

Bradley,  Willie,  99 

Branch,  John,  311,  312 

Breckenridge,    Caroline,  245,  268 

Breckenridge,  Rev.  John,   16,  159, 

160,  272,  279 
Brent,  Robert,  56 
British,  the,  near  Washington,  89, 

98 
Brookville,     Mrs.      Smith,     takes 

refuge  in,  98 
Brooks,  Mrs.,  346 
Brown,  Jacob,   185,  208 
Brown,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  James,  139, 

163 
Brown,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John,  19 
Brown,  Mrs.  John,  12,  18,  91,  130, 

3M 
Brush,  Mrs.,  112,  114,  115,  328 
Bryan,   Mrs.,  346 
Bryan,   William,    247,  346,  347 
Buck,   Mr.,    148 
Burnels,  Mrs.,  270 
Burning  of  Washington,  news  of, 

100 
Burr,   Aaron,    10,  21 
Burrows,  Capt,  30 
Butler,  Mrs.  Benjamin  R,  356 

Caldwell,  Mr.,  151,  152,  159 

Caldwell,  Mrs.,  130,  131 

Calhoun,  John  C,  142,  163,  311; 
conversation  with,  147;  removal 
to  Georgetown  of,  164;  talks  of 
the  election,  269,  270;  sensation 
produced  by  pamphlet  of,  333, 
334 ;  patriotism  of,  341 ;  talks 
with  Mrs.  Clay  and  Mrs.  Smith, 
346;  admiration  of,  for  Harriet 
Martineau,  365,  368;  report  on 
patronage,  369 

Calhoun,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  C, 
268,  274 


Calhoun,  Mrs.  John  C,  144,  155, 
170;  ball  at  house  of,  148;  loses 
her  infant  daughter,  149 ;  dinner 
at  house  of,  152;  departure  of, 
290 

Calhoun,  Old  Mrs.,  153,  159,  160 

Calve,  Mr.  de,  56 

Cambrel ing,  Churchill  C,   174 

Campbell,  George  W.,  93,  280,  305, 
3".  312 

Campbell,  Rev.  John  Nicholas, 
239,  250,  273 

Capitol  Hill,  beauties  of,  in  1800, 
10 

Carf,  Dabney,  102,  242,  243 

Carroll,  Daniel,  13 

Carroll,  Miss,  99 

Carroll,  the  Misses,  57 

Carter's  Mountain,  anecdote  con- 
cerning, 390 

Carusi,  Mr.,  210 

Cass,  Lewis,  245,  247 

Catholic  Chapel,  first  one  in  Wash- 
ington, 13,   16 

Chase,  Mr.,  250 

Cherokee  Chiefs,  30 

Cholera,  prevalence  of,  in  Wash- 
ington, 155,  335 

Church,   first  one  in  Washington, 

13 

Claiborne,  Nathaniel  H.,  245 

Claiborne,  W.  C.  C,  26 

Clark,  Dr.,  161 

Clark,  Marion,  377 

Clay,  Ann,  87 

Clay,  Henry,  84;  not  so  popular 
as  Johnson,  129;  intimacy  with 
Monroe,  141 ;  speech  of,  145 ; 
appearance  of,  at  "  Drawing 
Room,"  183 ;  influence  of,  185 ; 
conversation  with,  207 ;  in  the 
"Telegraph,"  212;  hospitality 
of,  213;  illness  of,  256,  257,  276; 
assumed    cheerfulness    of,    259; 


INDEX 


4i7 


reception  at  home  of,  271 ;  con- 
versation with,  277 ;  in  defeat, 
279;  character  of,  285,  286;  at 
dinner  table  of  Mrs.  Smith,  299 ; 
compares  characters  of  Jefferson 
and  Madison,  300;  sensibility  of, 
301;  death  of  infant  of,  302; 
domestic  affliction  of,  303 ; 
placed  on  important  commit- 
tees, 325 ;  chosen  candidate  for 
presidency,  332 ;  presidential 
hopes  for,  344;  conversation  of, 
with  Harriet  Martineau,  361 ; 
friendship  for  Harriet  Martin- 
eau, 364,  368;  death  of  his 
daughter,  375;  affection  of,  for 
Mrs.  Smith,  375 ;  congratulates 
Mrs.  Smith  on  her  son's  mar- 
riage, 413 

Clay,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Henry,  85, 
139,  246,  286 

Clay,  Mrs.  Henry,  84,  91,  157,  207, 
211,  212,  238,  245,  249,  256,  257, 
260,  262,  289,  290,  344,  347,  375 ; 
character  of,  86,  88;  death  of 
her  child,  130,  135;  sale  of  fur- 
niture of,  285 ;  unhappiness  of, 
324 ;  health  of,  353 

Clifton,  Mrs.,   153,  247 

Cobb,  Thomas  W.,  173,  176,  181, 
182,  184,  186 

Cockburn,  Admiral  George,  109, 
in,  112,  113 

Coles,  Edward,  56,  61 

Colton,  Mr.,  328,  339 

Conrad's  boarding  house,  9,  10, 
12,  31 

Coolidge,  Ellen  Randolph,  362 

Cooper,  James  Fenimore,  166,  167, 
169 

Correa  da  Serra,  Jose,  135,  138, 
140 

Cox,  Rev.  Samuel  Hanson,  249 

Cranch,  Edward,  245 


Cranet,  John,  292 

Craven,  Mr.,  30 

Craven,  Mrs.,  85 

Crawford,  Caroline,   170,  172,  181, 

193 
Crawford,  Mrs.  Wm.  H.,  170,  172, 

173,  177 

Crawford,  Wm.  H.,  160-162; 
summer  residence  of,  164;  ill- 
ness of,  165,  166;  loyalty  of  his 
friends,  173;  defeat  of,  173,  174, 
176,  177;  game  of  chess  with, 
175 ;  declines  to  remain  in  Cab^- 
inet,  178;  family  life  of,  179; 
devotion  to  his  children,  188; 
Lafayette's  visit  to,  189;  writes 
to  Adams,  193,  194,  195;  anec- 
dote of  his  barber,  198,  199;  re- 
ports of  illness  of,  199,  200; 
character  of,  202,  203 

Cutting,  Mr.,  112 

Cutting,  Mr.  and  Mrs.,  87 

Cutting,  Mrs.,  91,  97,  no 

Cutts,  Mrs.  Richard  D.,  61,  62,  82, 
no,  141,  157,  211,  238,  260,  314, 
373 

Cutts,  Richard  D.,  82,  no,  143 

Danforth,  Rev.  Mr.,  273,  285 
Dannery,  Mr.,  265,  267 
Day,  Mr.,  168 
Dayton,  Jonathan,  26 
Dearborn,  Henry,  31,  35 
Decatur,  Stephen,  150,  151 
Decatur,  Stephen  and  Mrs.,  135 
Decatur,  Mrs.  Stephen,  150,  151 
Dickens,  Asbury,  176 
Dickens,  Mrs.  Asbury,  261 
Donelson,   Mrs.   Andrew  Jackson, 

307,  308 
Dougherty,  Joseph,  313 
Doughty,  James,  164,  245 
Doyne,  Eliza,  114 
"  Drawing  Room,"  attractions  of, 


4i8 


INDEX 


95;    Mrs.    Madison's,    83,    130; 

Mrs.  Adams's,  182,  183 
Durand,  Cyrus,  374 
Duval,  Capt.,  346 
Duval,  Mrs.,  35,  38,  135 

Easton,   Miss,  304 

Eaton,    John    H.,    252,    255,    282, 

3ii,  319,  344 
Eaton,  Mrs.    ("Peggy"  O'Neill), 

252,  282,  288,  289,  305,  311,  318, 

320,  327 
Eddsborough,  Mrs.,  323 
Elliot,  Dawes,  245,  246 
Ellison,  Mr.,  245 
English,  Lydia,  275 
Episcopal    Church,     first    one    in 

Washington,  16 
Eppes,  Mrs.  John  Wayles  (Maria 

Jefferson),  34 
Erskine,  M.,  62 
Esmanyart,  Mr.,  263 
Everett,  Edward,  14,  212 
Everett,    Mr.   and   Mrs.    Edward, 

327 
Ewing,  Mr.,  257 

Fair  for  the  orphan  asylum,  367 
Farley,  John,  323,  324 
Feronais,  Count  de  la,  264 
Finley,  Robert,  130,  131 
Fisk,  Jonathan,  93 
Fletcher,  Thomas,  140 
Forsyth,  John,  95,  170 
Forsyth,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John,  154 
Foster,  Sir  Augustus,  385,  400 
Franklin,  Benjamin,  59 
Frelinghuysen,  Mrs.,  312 
Fulton,  the  Misses,  261 

Gales,  Ann  Eliza,  89,  91,  135,  161 
Gales,   Joseph,   89,    112,    209,   211, 

283,  290 
Gallatin,  Albert,  31,  86,  307 


Gallatin,   Mrs.   Albert,  27,  32,  45, 

49,  56 
Gallaudet,  Miss,  143 
Gallaudet,  Thomas  Hopkins,    144, 

242 
Gemme,  Carre  De  V.,  2,  19 
Gilmore,  Mr.,  137 
Gilmore,  Mrs.,  294 
Gilmer,  Mr.  and  Mrs.,  268 
Gorham,  Mrs.  Benjamin,  342,  343 
Graham,  Mary  Ann,  340 
Graham,  Mrs.  George,  381 
Grammar  (E.  Doyne),  115 
Granger,  Gideon,  35,  37 
Green,  Duff,  211 
Gurley,  Mrs.,  328 
Gurley,  Ralph  Randolph,  328 

Hamilton,  Alexander,  212 

Hamilton,  Mrs.,  289 

Hampton,  affair  of,  90 

Harper,  Mrs.,  151 

Harris,  Rev.  William,    167 

Harrison,  William  Henry,  137, 
138,  140 

Hart,  Jeannette,  340 

Hauto,  Mr.,  54,  55 

Hay,  Mrs.,  150 

Hayne,  Robert  Y.,  310 

Hayne,  Mrs.  Robert  Y.,  288 

Henderson,  Col.,  210 

Henry,  Mr.,  250 

Hervey,  Mr.,  213 

Hillhouse,  James  Abraham,  168 

Hoar,  Mr.,  174 

Holly,  Mrs.,  260 

Holmes,  David,  18 

Holmes,  John,  145,  173 

House,  Col.,  344 

House  of  Representatives,  de- 
stroyed by  British,  109;  loung- 
ing in,  94;  refreshments  in,  146, 
147 

Hughes,  Mr.,   135 


INDEX 


419 


Humboldt,  Baron,  395,  397 
Hungerford,  Gen.  John  Pratt,  106 
Hunter,  Dr.  Andrew,  160 
Hunter,  Mrs.,  158 
Huntt,  Dr.  Henry,  157,  272 
Huygens,  Madame,  305,  318 
Huygens,   Mr.    (Dutch  Minister), 
326 

Inauguration  ball,  60,  412 
Inauguration     of     Jefferson,     25; 

Madison,  58,  410 
Independence  Day,  celebration  of, 

398 
Indian  dance,  247 
Ingersoll,  Charles  I.,  96 
Ingham,  Samuel  D.,  282,  287,  311 
Ingham,  Mr.  and  Mrs.,  255 
Ingham,    Mrs.    Samuel    D.,    289, 

290 
Iturbide,  Madame,  322 

Jackson,  Andrew,  177,  180;  con- 
gratulates Adams,  183;  letter 
from,  253;  death  of  wife,  259, 
260 ;  arrival  of,  272,  273,  281 ; 
refuses  to  have  inaugural  pa- 
rade, 284;  rumors  about  Cabinet 
of,  281,  282,  283;  inauguration 
of,  290;  marriage  of  adopted 
son  of,  325 ;  accessible  to  the 
people,  306;  calls  on  Mrs.  Ran- 
dolph, 308,  309;  in  his  dotage, 
318,  320 
Jackson,  John  G.,  98 
Jackson,  Mrs.  Andrew,  253 
Jefferson,  Thomas,  first  interview 
with,  5 ;  fondness  of,  for  trees, 
11,  394;  residence  at  Conrad's, 
12;  election  of,  21 ;  inauguration 
of,  25  ;  inaugural  address  of,  26 ; 
reception  by,  30,  34,  38;  fond- 
ness  for  grandchildren,   50,   76, 


78;  present  of  seeds  from,  50; 
tete-a-tete  with,  55;  retirement 
of,  58;  entertains  Mrs.  Smith 
at  Monticello,  67;  bedchamber 
of,  72;  drive  with,  72\  family 
letters  of,  74;  parting  with,  79; 
letter  on  religion,  126;  favors 
Crawford,  163;  Rector  of  Uni- 
versity of  Virginia,  229;  visit 
to  grave  of,  230;  children  and 
grandchildren  of,  231;  Mr. 
Trist's  story  of,  242,  243 ;  de- 
votion of  daughter  to,  309; 
stories  of,  by  his  servant,  314; 
religion  of,  315;  "death-bed 
adieu"  of,  316;  fondness  of, 
for  pets,  385;  furnishes  White 
House,  384;  dress  of,  386;  in- 
ventions of,  387;  his  dumb 
waiter,  387;  dinner  parties  of, 
388;  cooking  at  his  table,  392; 
rides  of,  393 ;  inventions  of,  392 ; 
friendship  with  Baron  Hum- 
boldt, 395;  knowledge  of  Indi- 
ans, 402;  ceremonial  of,  405; 
home  circle  of,  406;  custom  as 
to  mourning,  407;  friendship  for 
Madison,  409 

Jefferson's  Manual,  8 

Jeffries,  Miss,  354 

Jinkinson,  Mr.  and  Mrs.,  51 

Jessup,  Mrs.,  246 

Johns,  Mr.,  339 

Johnson,  Chapman,  229 

Johnson,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  R.  M., 
166,  168 

Johnson,  Mrs.  Richard  Mentor, 
206,  238 

Johnson,  Richard  Mentor,  128, 
140,  146 

Johnston,  Mrs.  Josiah  S.,  240, 
245,  246 

Jones,  Charles,  97 

Jones,  Mrs.  Walter,  238,  329 


420 


INDEX 


Kautzow,  the  Misses  de,  140 

Key,  Frank,  293 

King,  Rufus,  40 

King,    John    Pendleton,   330,    341, 

364 
Kirkpatrick,   Bayard,  362 
Kirkpatrick,  George  Littleton,  87, 

88 
Kirkpatrick,  Maria,  47,  48 
Kirkpatrick,   Mary   Ann,   88,    129, 

132,  133,  136,  137,   138,  140 
Kremer,  George,  212 
Krudener,  Baron,  262 

Lafayette,  General,  177,  187,  189 
Lafayette,  George,  177,  189 
Lanark,    settlement    at,    220,    221, 

222 
Lansdale,   Miss,  85 
Larned,  Mr.,  144 
Law,  John,  85,  158 
Law,  Mrs.  Thomas,  1,  2,  3,  4,  18, 

31 
Law,  Thomas,  1,  4,  9,  20,  49 
Lawrence,  Miss,  168 
Lear,  Mrs.  Tobias,  323,  331,  381 
Lee,  Mr.,  102,  103 
Leon,  Mr.,  275 
Lewis,  Joe,  174 
Lewis,  Meriwether,  393 
Lindsay,  Dr.  and  Mrs.,  250 
Livingston,  Edward,  325 
Livingston,     Mrs.     Edward,     288, 

325,  326 
Livingston,  Robert  R.,  40 
Lomax,  Professor,  226,  227 
Louisiana,  cession  of,  38,  40 
Lovel,  Dr.,  246 
Lovel,  Dr.  and  Mrs.,  250,  268 
Lovel,  Mrs.,  210,  238,  246 
Lowndes,  Caleb,  54,  55,  56,  388 
Lowndes,  Mrs.,  130,  145 
Lowrie,  Walter,  173,  184,  182,  185, 

187 


Lyon,  Mr.,  286,  289,  300,  303 

McClure,  William,   388 

McComb,  General  Alexander,  286, 
300 

McComb,  Mrs.  Alexander,  238, 
341 

McKenney,  Dr.,  168,  169 

McKenny,  Col.,    160 

McLane,  Louis,  170,  179,  190,  191, 
192,  193,  252,  261,  282,  283,  325, 
353 

McLane,  Mrs.  Louis,  149,  164, 
251,  252,  260,  261,  275,  319,  320, 
321,  325,  343 

McMunn  and  Conrad's,  31 

Macon,  Nathaniel,  164 

Madison,  James,  31 ;  remarks  on 
champagne,  36;  visits  Sidney, 
51;  inauguration  of,  58;  de- 
meanor at  inauguration  ball,  61 ; 
remarks  at  inauguration  ball, 
63,  64;  movements  after  battle 
of  Bladensburg,  106,  107 ;  goes 
to  Mrs.  Cutts's  house,  no;  or- 
ders resistance  to  British,  114; 
greets  Mr.  Finley,  131 ;  praises 
University  of  Virginia,  229 ;  wel- 
comes Mr.  and  Mrs.  Smith  to 
Montpelier,  233 ;  speaks  of  his 
reminiscences,  235 ;  sportive  dis- 
position of,  236;  feeble  health 
of,  358;  friendship  of,  for  Jef- 
ferson, 410;  inauguration  of, 
410 

Madison,  Mrs.,  49 ;  interview  with 
Dr.  Breckenridge,  17;  intimacy 
with,  29;  dinner  with,  35;  game 
of  cards  with,  38;  visits  Sidney, 
57;  inaugural  reception  of,  58; 
appearance  at  inauguration  ball, 
61,  62;  kindness  of,  82,  83;  de- 
pression of,  after  battle,  no; 
movements  of,  after  battle,  no, 


INDEX 


421 


III  j     asks     Miss    Mary     Kirk- 
patrick  to  play,  132;  appearance 
of,  134;  kindness  to  Miss  Kirk- 
patrick,   138;   a  talk  with,   234; 
hospitality  of,  234;  runs  a  race 
with    Anna    Smith,   237 ;    writes 
account  of  her  life,  351;  life  at 
Montpelier,  380 
Madison,  "  Old  Mrs.,"  236 
Madison,  William,  82 
Marke,  Mr.,  85 

Martineau,  Harriet,  visit  from. 
354;  reception  to,  356;  dinner 
to>  359 ;  friendship  for  Clay,  364 ; 
friends  of,  365 ;  conversation  of, 
365;  modesty  of,  366;  attentions 
to,  368;  political  address  to,  369 
Mason,    Armistead    Thomson,   33, 

106 
Mason,  Mrs.  Armistead  Thomson, 

104,   105,   107,   157 
May,  Frederick,  4,  5,  18 
May,  Mrs.  Frederick,   158 
Mayne,  Mr.,  394 
Meade,  William,  225 
Meigs,  Return  J.,  161 
Meigs,  Mrs.  Return  J.,  135 
Meley     Meley     (Tunisian     Minis- 
ter), 400,  401,  402,  403 
Menou,  Count  de,  174 
Mercer,  John  Fenton,  145 
Meredith,  31 

Merry,  Mrs.  Anthony,  45,  404 
Middleton,  Mrs.  Henry,  165,  204 
Miller,  Mary,  245,  246,  247 
Mitchill,  Samuel  L.,  49,  166,  168 
Mitchill,  Mrs.  Samuel  L.,  168 
Monroe,  James,  confidence  of  sol- 
diers   in,    89;    joins    the    Presi- 
dent, 108 
Monroe,    Mr.    and    Mrs.    James, 

manners  of,  141 
Montgomery    C.    H.,   burning    of, 
101 


Montgomery,   Mrs.  86 

Monticello,  visit  to,  65;  descrip- 
tion of,  66;  dinner  at,  67;  sun- 
rise at,  69;  improvements  at, 
68,  69;  breakfast  at,  68,  69; 
view  from,  70;  daily  routine  at, 
70;  library  at,  71;  second  visit 
to,  230;  desolation  at,  231 

Montpelier,  visit  to,  65 ;  arrival 
at,  81;  breakfast  at,  83;  hospi- 
tality at,  81;  house  at,  82;  sup- 
per at,  82 ;  second  visit  to,  233 ; 
dinner  at,  235 ;  departure  from, 

237 
Moore,  Mr.,  167 
Morgan,  Col.  James,  37 
Morris,   Gouverneur,   26 
Morris,  Miss,  268,  289 
Mulligan,  Mr.,  101 
Mumford,   Gurdon   S.,   84 

National  Intelligencer,  the  estab- 
lishment of,  9 ;  burning  of  office, 
112 

Navy  Yard,  burning  of,  102 

Nelson,  Hugh,  225,  226 

Neuville,  Hyde  de,  134,  135 

Neuville,    Madame    Hyde   de,    140 

Newal,  Mrs.,  238 

Newman,   Mrs.,  368 

New  Year's  Day,  reception  at 
White  House,  400 

Nicholas,  Wilson  Cary,  19,  20 

Nicholson,  Joseph  Hopper,  24 

Nicholson,  Maria,  28 

Noah,   Mordecai  Manuel,  274 

Numidian  Lion,  367 

Ogilvie,  Mr.,  95,  97,  98 

Ohnes,  Mr.,  174 

Onis,  the  Misses  de,  140 

Orr,  Henry,  359 

Osage  chiefs,  reception  to,  400 


422 


INDEX 


Otis,     Mr.     and     Mrs.     Harrison 

Gray,  i,  5 
Otis,    Mrs.    Harrison    Gray,     18, 

343 
Owen,  of  Lanark,    179,    196,  197, 
219 

Paterson,  William,  406 

Payne,   Anna    (Mrs.    Richard  D. 

Cutts),  29 
Palfrey,  Mr.,  340 
Pederson,  Peter,  56,  57 
Persico,  270 
Pettrich,  sculptor,  378 
Pichon,  Henrietta,  214,  265 
Pichon,  Jerome,  217 
Pichon,  Louis  Andre,  33 
Pichon,    Madame,   34,  44,  45,  47, 

165,  204 
Pichon,  Theodore,  217,  263 
Pike,  Zebulon  Montgomery,  53 
Pinkney,  William,  96,  149* 
Pise,  Charles  Constantine,  340 
Plane,  Mrs.  de  la,  330 
Poindexter,  Mr.,  340 
Porter,  Commodore  David,  258 
Porter,    Peter    B.,    245,    249,    257, 

258,  274 
Porter,  Genl.  and  Mrs.  Peter  B., 

268 
Porter,    Mrs.    Peter   B.,   238,  245, 

249,  260,  261,  262,  272,  274,  275, 

276,  279,  285,  289,  290,  298,  299 
Portrait  of  Washington,  rescue  of, 

no 
Post,  Mr.,  158,  160 
Pouillet,  Mr.,  215 
Precedence,  questions  of,  326,  404 
President's    House.       See    White 

House 
Preston,   William    Campbell,    353, 

368 

Quincy,  Josiah,  83,  84,  285 


Randal,  Mrs.,  343 

Randolph,  Burrel,  242 

Randolph,   Jefferson,   67,   70,   224, 

232 
Randolph,   John,  of  Roanoke,  42, 

43,  186,  187,  212 
Randolph,  Mary,  72 
Randolph,     Mrs.     Thomas     Mann 

(Martha  Jefferson),  34,  35,  49, 

67,  74,  77,  79,  157,  231,  242,  307, 

308,  313,  314,  363 
Randolph,  Thomas  Mann,  67,  70 
Randolph,  Virginia,  72 
Ridgely,  Major,  100 
Riggs,  E.,  100 

Riley,  Capt.  James,  148,  367,  372 
Rives,  Wm.  Cabell,  227 
Rives,    Mr.     and     Mrs.     William 

Cabell,  268 
Rodgers,  John,  376 
Ross,  Genl.  Alexander,  109 
Rush,   Richard,   94,  106,  257,  259, 

278,  279,  290 

Rush,  Mrs.  Richard,  208,  238,  243, 

279,  308 
Rush,  Miss,  140 

Sanford,  Mrs.  Nathan,  289 

Schaefer,  Frederick  Christian,  167 

Scott,  John,   185,  247 

Scott,  Winfield,  183 

Seaton,  Julia,  247 

Seaton,  Mrs.  William,  91,  135,  238, 

245,  246,  270,  290,  330,  356 
Seaton,    Mr.    and    Mrs.    William, 

247,  268,  274 
Seaton,  William,  89,  91,  290 
Seawell,  Dr.,  314 
Sedgwick,    Catharine    Maria,    168, 

334,  343 
Senate     chamber,     admission     of 

ladies  to,  149,  310,  352 
Shales,  Mr.,  246 
Sidney,  first  view  of,  44 


INDEX 


423 


Sim,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Thomas,  268 
Sim,   Dr.   Thomas,  253,   335,  337, 

338,  340 
"  Sister  Gertrude,"  322 
Slave  insurrection,  fear  of,  90 
Smith,  Andrew,  276 
Smith,   Ann,   93,  95,   97,   99,   i°3, 

116,  139,  329>  348 
Smith,  Anna,  145,  147,  223,  348 
Smith,  Catharine,  347 
Smith,  Esther,  245 
Smith,   Jonathan    Bayard   H.,  84, 

148,  336;  visits  Montpelier,  381; 

marriage  of,  413 
Smith,    Julia,    93,    101,    145,    147, 

251,  272,  345,  348 
Smith,  Mrs.  Andrew,  238,  275 
Smith,    Mrs.    Robert,    46,   47,   62, 

238 
Smith,  Robert,  45 
Smith,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Samuel  Har- 
rison, visit  General  Jackson,  289, 

304 
Smith,  Mrs.  Samuel  Harrison 
(Margaret  Bayard),  arrival  in 
Washington,  1 ;  visits  Bruns- 
wick, 37;  visits  New  York,  40; 
goes  to  Sidney,  49;  visits  Mon- 
ticello,  65 ;  visits  Montpelier,  81 ; 
flees  from  the  British,  98;  re- 
turns to  Sidney,  109;  visits 
Mrs.  Boyd  in  New  York,  166; 
visits  Charlottesville,  Va.,  223; 
visits  Monticello  the  second 
time,  230;  leaves  Monticello, 
232;  visits  Montpelier  for  sec- 
ond time,  233 ;  moves  into  a  new 
house,  238;  gives  a  party,  268; 
gives  a  party  in  honor  of  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Calhoun,  274;  gives  a 
party  for  Mrs.  Randolph,  307; 
takes  Mrs.  Randolph  to  the 
White  House,  307;  amusements 
at  home,  328;  impromptu  verses 


of,  331 ;  letter  of  Miss  Sedgwick 
to,  333 
Smith,  Samuel  Harrison,  relations 
with  Jefferson,  9;  Commissioner 
of  the  Revenue,  92;  losses  of, 
in  war,  101,  102,  103,  119;  re- 
turns to  city,  107;  visits  Presi- 
dent after  battle,  no;  reads 
memoir  of  Jefferson  before  Co- 
lumbian Institute,  208;  dines 
with  Typographical  Society, 
209;   talks   to    Miss   Martineau, 

363 
Smith,  Susan,  49,  52,  53,  101,  261, 

328,  329 
Smith,  Susan  Harrison,  97 
Smythe,  Gen.  Alexander,  145 
Southard,  Mrs.  Samuel,  211,  212, 

238,  243,  245,  246,  249,  298,  372 
Southard,   Samuel,    163,   243,   252, 

257,  258,  273,  278,  290 
Southard,  Virginia,  245,  344,  346, 

347,  372 
Sprague,  Mrs.,  343 
Sprigg,  Capt.,  38 
Sprigg,  Mrs.,  85 
Stevens,  Alexander  Hodgson,  168, 

206,  350 
Stevens,  Mr.,  97,  98 
Stevenson,  Andrew,  210 
Stewart,  Charles  Samuel,  371 
Stone,  Mrs.,  141 
Sumter,  Thomas,  30 
Sunday    observance    in   Washing- 
ton, 16,  17 
Sunday  services  at  the  Capitol,  13 
Supreme  Court,  speeches  in,  96 
Sutherland,  Miss,  270 
Swartwout,  Samuel,  177 

Tasslet,  Mr.,  155 
Tasslet,  Mrs.,  153 
Tayloe,  Mr.,  145,  147 
Tayloe,  Mrs.,  356 


424 


INDEX 


Tayloe,  the  Misses,  339 

Taylor,  General  Zachary,  345 

Tazewell,  Littleton  Waller,  283 

Thierrie,  Mr.,   135 

Thompson,    Rishey,   211 

Thornton,  Mrs.  William,  1,  51,  55, 
no,  in,  156,  206,  210,  211,  238, 
245,  308,  341,  343,  354,  381 

Thornton,  William,  1,  51 

Tiber,  the,  beauties  of,  10,  n 

Tingly,  Miss,  18 

Tingly,  Mrs.  Thomas,  1,  2,  4,  18, 

33 
Tingly,  Thomas,  1,  5,  18,  33,  Sh  62, 

113,  283,  290 
Todd,  John  Payne,   131,  351,  381 
Tompkins,  Daniel  D.,  149 
Tracy,  Mr.,  88 
Trist,  Mrs.   Nicholas,  231 
Trist,  Nicholas,  231,  242,  247 
Turreau  de  Garambonville,  56,  62 

University  of  Virginia,  description 
of,  225,  226;  library  of,  226, 
227;  Jefferson's  influence  over 
students  of,  229;  described,  382 

Vail,  Miss,  238 

Vail,  Stephen,  185,  186 

Van  Buren,  Martin,  170,  173,  176, 

190,  192,  282,  287,  305,  306,  309, 

310,  320,  344,  349 
Van  Cortlandt,  Philip,  18 
Van  Ness,  John  Peter,  211 
Van  Ness,  Mrs.  John  Peter  (Mar- 

cia   Burns),   135,   141,    157,   209, 

210,  211,  373 
Van     Rensselaer,     Mrs.     Stephen, 

184,   185,  327 


Van  Rensselaer,  Stephen,  175,  184, 

185,  191,  192,  193,  250 
Vaughan,    Charles    Richard,    255, 

270,  356 

Ward,  Col.  and  Mrs.,  272 

Warden,  David  Bailie,  214 

Wayne,  James  Moore,  325,  343 

Wayne,  Mrs.  James  Moore,  343 

Webster,  Daniel,  162,  185,  187, 
310,  368 

Webster,  Mrs.  Daniel,  344,  348 

Weightman,  Richard,  in 

Wharton,  Col.,  113 

Wharton,  Miss,  344 

Wharton,  Mrs.,  165 

White  House,  burning  of,  in  ;  de- 
stroyed by  British,  109;  de- 
scription of,  383;  furnishing  of, 
384;  improvement  of  grounds 
of,  393 

Wilkes,  Mrs.  Charles,  377 

Williams,  Miss,  270 

Willis,  Dr.,  45 

Winder,  William  Henry,  100,  101, 

ii3 
Wingate,  Margaret,  85 
Wirt,  Catharine,  239,  323 
Wirt,  Elizabeth,  239 
Wirt,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William,  208 
Wirt,  Mrs.  William,  244,  249,  270, 

317,  318,  323,  343 
Wirt,  William,   142,  207,  228,  239, 

240,  246,  257,  272,  290,  316,  317, 

350 
Wood,  Mr.,  156,  250,  289,  290,  292, 

33i 
Woodbury,  Levi,  283 
Worthington,  Dr.,  106 


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